Largest ever Posi­do­nia opens

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Posi­do­nia 2016, the world’s most pres­ti­gious ship­ping event, was in­au­gu­rated on Mon­day evening by the Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras and at­tended by heads of states, Euro­pean Union of­fi­cials, Greek cabi­net mem­bers, for­eign mar­itime min­is­ters, board mem­bers of the Union of Greek Shipown­ers, chair­men of in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions as well as some 1,500 ex­hibitors and del­e­gates from around the world.

The open­ing cer­e­mony kicked-off the most an­tic­i­pated bi­en­nial mar­itime event which has set a new record in size, as this year’s ex­hi­bi­tion ex­ceeds 40,000 sqm, and in­cludes over 40 con­fer­ences, sem­i­nars and work­shops, tak­ing place at the Athens Met­ro­pol­i­tan Expo over the next four days, till the cur­tain comes down on Fri­day, June 10.

Ad­dress­ing the global au­di­ence, the Prime Min­is­ter Tsipras said that the Greek ocean go­ing ship­ping con­trib­utes 7% of Greece’s gross na­tional prod­uct, whilst pro­vid­ing sig­nif­i­cant di­rect and in­di­rect em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties. He said that the strength of Greek ship­ping has helped po­si­tion the coun­try at the cen­tre of the changes and de­vel­op­ments the global econ­omy is un­der­go­ing.

Tsipras also stressed that Greece’s strate­gic geopo­lit­i­cal po­si­tion cou­pled with the lo­ca­tion of Greece’s big ports is a com­bi­na­tion which guar­an­tees the prospects of es­tab­lish­ing the coun­try as the com­mer­cial gate­way to Europe for many prod­ucts and ser­vices. He added that in­vest­ments for the im­prove­ment of the ex­ist­ing in­fra­struc­ture are es­sen­tial and would pro­vide Greece with yet an­other com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage in the coun­try’s road to re­cov­ery.

The Greek Min­is­ter of Ship­ping and Is­land Pol­icy, Theodore Drit­sas, noted: “Dur­ing the past years, the ship­ping sec­tor, one of the most glob­alised in­dus­tries in the field of in­ter­na­tional trade, has faced great chal­lenges. These are re­lated to the ex­cess ton­nage, com­bined with short-term re­duc­tion in the de­mand side for trans­ported cargo vol­umes, lack of fund­ing from bank in­sti­tu­tions, a sharp de­cline in ves­sel val­ues, un­cer­tainty in oil prices and acute com­pe­ti­tion. In­evitably, these fac­tors led to a sub­stan­tial down­ward pres­sure on freight rates, in par­tic­u­lar in dry mar­ket seg­ment. The grad­ual re­cov­ery of the world econ­omy will cer­tainly lead to the re­duc­tion and hope­fully the phe­nom­ena.

“De­spite the dif­fi­cul­ties in both the na­tional and global eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ment, Greek ship­ping man­aged to main­tain its lead­ing po­si­tion at in­ter­na­tional level. More than 1,350 ship­ping com­pa­nies are es­tab­lished in Greece, mainly in Pi­raeus, con­sti­tut­ing the driv­ing force for a num­ber of re­lated eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties. Greek ship­ping re­mains a vi­tal and suc­cess­ful gen­er­a­tor of the na­tional econ­omy, con­tribut­ing over 7% to na­tional GDP, pro­vid­ing al­most 200,000 jobs both at sea and ashore, cov­er­ing also over 30% of the coun­try’s trade deficit,” Drit­sas con­tin­ued.

The Sec­re­tary Gen­eral of the In­ter­na­tional Mar­itime Or­gan­i­sa­tion, Ki­tack Lim, said: “Ship­ping has a won­der­ful abil­ity to tap into rich cur­rents of in­no­va­tion and ex­cel­lence in key ar­eas, from safety at sea, to clean ship­ping – and be­yond. Events like Posi­do­nia pro­vide a valu­able op­por­tu­nity to show­case all that cre­ativ­ity and en­ergy; an op­por­tu­nity



those to mix, to min­gle, to make friends and do busi­ness.”

Speak­ing at the in­au­gu­ra­tion event, Matej Zakon­jsek, Head of Cabi­net to the Euro­pean Com­mis­sioner for Trans­port, said: “I am de­lighted to see the vitality of the sec­tor in spite of the hard­ships – an im­pres­sive ex­am­ple of this is the Greek ship­ping com­mu­nity host­ing this event. The po­ten­tial of ship­ping to bring pros­per­ity to Europe is strong, and so is our re­solve to work to­gether with all of you to over­come any stormy seas ahead.”

Echo­ing the voice of the Greek shipown­ers, Theodore Ve­ni­amis, Pres­i­dent of the Union of Greek Shipown­ers, added: “The Greek shipown­ers and the Greek state, as rep­re­sen­ta­tives of a tra­di­tional mar­itime coun­try, cur­rently ac­count­ing for 50% of Euro­pean ship­ping and 20% of the world fleet in terms of ton­nage, have been strong sup­port­ers of the in­sti­tu­tional role of the In­ter­na­tional Mar­itime Or­gan­i­sa­tion (IMO) as the only ap­pro­pri­ate leg­isla­tive body for ship­ping. The rea­son is one but very im­por­tant: ship­ping as an in­ter­na­tional ac­tiv­ity, fully ex­posed to in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion, re­quires a uni­form en­force­able leg­isla­tive frame­work. The IMO has ad­dressed suc­cess­fully chal­lenges over the years and has adopted in­ter­na­tional con­ven­tions which achieve the re­quired bal­ance be­tween its mem­ber states.

“Even its crit­ics ac­knowl­edge that the ship­ping in­dus­try is sub­ject to a com­pre­hen­sive le­gal frame­work en­sur­ing safety of mar­itime trans­port and en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion. Es­pe­cially nowa­days, with the on­go­ing in­tense dis­cus­sions on cli­mate change and green­house gas emis­sions from ship­ping, the IMO is in­vited to take the lead­ing role on the is­sue and de­fend the sec­tor with ef­fi­cient and long-last­ing so­lu­tions. The pri­or­ity for Euro­pean leg­is­la­tors should be to form a ship­ping pol­icy fo­cused on main­tain­ing the com­pet­i­tive­ness of the ship­ping com­mu­nity. A pol­icy that takes into ac­count the in­ter­na­tional char­ac­ter of ship­ping and the nec­es­sary pre­req­ui­site to be com­pet­i­tive, hence, sus­tain­able in or­der to con­tinue op­er­at­ing smoothly to the ben­e­fit of the Euro­pean econ­omy, pub­lic wel­fare and world trade,” Ve­ni­amis con­tin­ued.

On be­half of the or­gan­is­ers, Theodore Vokos, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor, Posi­do­nia Ex­hi­bi­tions S.A., said: “This is the big­gest Posi­do­nia in the event’s 46 year-long his­tory as over 1,800 ex­hibitors from 89 coun­tries are tak­ing part. They rep­re­sent all sec­tors of the in­dus­try, in­clud­ing over 200 ship­yards, 19 na­tional pavil­ions, over 80 ICT com­pa­nies and dozens of bal­last wa­ter treat­ment spe­cial­ists, amongst oth­ers. We also ex­pect to wel­come some 20,000 vis­i­tors from all over the world con­firm­ing the rep­u­ta­tion of Posi­do­nia as the most im­por­tant ship­ping event.”

“The growth of Posi­do­nia is the re­sult of the re­silience of the Greek ship­ping in­dus­try which has man­aged to cope with the cur­rent chal­leng­ing con­di­tions and main­tains its lead­er­ship po­si­tion thanks to its en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit and by con­tin­u­ously up­grad­ing and rein­vent­ing its prod­uct,” Vokos added, dur­ing a press con­fer­ence to mark the launch of the 25th edi­tion of Posi­do­nia.

Cur­rently, the Greek-owned fleet’s av­er­age age is 11.2 years and com­prises 4,585 ships, rep­re­sent­ing 19.63% of the global fleet in dwt.

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