Or­gan­is­ers push to make this the best Lima yet

New Straits Times - - Letters - LES­LIE AN­DRES lesliea@nst.com.my

WITH the 2017 edi­tion of the Langkawi In­ter­na­tional Mar­itime and Aero­space ex­hi­bi­tion al­ready con­firmed as be­ing the big­gest in the his­tory of the ex­hi­bi­tion, new or­gan­is­ers EN Projects (M) Sdn Bhd can per­haps rest on its lau­rels.

But the new kid in town, so to speak, is do­ing no such thing: it‘s not just enough to be the big­gest.

EN Projects chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Shaun Ja­cob­son be­lieves that the work is not done, not by a long­shot.

“We are tar­get­ing to make this Lima the best ever since its in­cep­tion in 1991 (and not just the big­gest). Ten min­istries are work­ing to­gether with other agen­cies to or­gan­ise this event, in­clud­ing the De­fence Min­istry; Tourism and Cul­ture Min­istry; Trans­port Min­istry; Home Min­istry; Youth and Sports Min­istry; Fi­nance Min­istry; the Kedah State Gov­ern­ment; the Malaysian Mar­itime En­force­ment Agency and the po­lice.

“But, if you want to com­pare), dur­ing Lima 2015, there were 512 com­pa­nies from 36 coun­tries that took part as ex­hibitors. Con­firmed space book­ings for this year has seen a 40 per cent in­crease com­pared to the pre­vi­ous edi­tion in 2015. Rus­sia is cur­rently once again the largest in­ter­na­tional coun­try ex­hibitor, fol­lowed by France and the United King­dom,“he told the

Asked why the growth in par­tic­i­pa­tion de­spite the cur­rent global eco­nomic un­cer­tain­ties, Ja­cob­son said it was be­cause the world recog­nised the im­por­tance of the South­east Asian re­gion and that Malaysia was in good stand­ing in the re­gion.

“Lima has grown from strength to strength since the first edi­tion in 1991. It has grown into one of the big­gest shows in the world. That it con­tin­ues to grow is a tes­ta­ment to the fact that South­east Asia is an im­por­tant re­gion, and Malaysia is well-placed to af­fect growth in the re­gion.

“The lo­ca­tion of the show, in Langkawi, is also an ad­van­tage as both aero­space and mar­itime com­pa­nies, whether de­fence-re­lated or civil­ian, can take part in one show. Con­sid­er­ing there are some com­pa­nies, like BHIC, Alsel­san, MBDA, for in­stance, which have in­ter­ests in both aero­space and mar­itime among oth­ers, Lima is an ad­van­ta­geous show to be a part of.

“There is no doubt that Lima will con­tinue to grow and will re­main a ma­jor fix­ture in the ex­hi­bi­tion calendar for years to come.“

Ja­cob­son said the fact that sev­eral new coun­tries were tak­ing part in the ex­hi­bi­tion was also a sign of the im­por­tance of the show, the re­gion and the coun­try.

“There are nine new coun­tries tak­ing part in Lima this year. These first-time ex­hibitors are bring­ing in­no­va­tive, new prod­ucts to Asian mar­kets from Aus­tria, Brazil, Es­to­nia, Hong Kong, the Nether­lands, the Philip­pines, Poland, Thai­land and Ukraine.

“Lima at­tracts most in­flu­en­tial pro­cure­ment ex­ec­u­tives from de­fence and civil sec­tors, in­clud­ing air­lines, ship­ping, MRO, oil and gas, air­port ser­vices, port au­thor­i­ties, port op­er­a­tors, port aux­il­iary ser­vices and cruise lin­ers. All par­tic­i­pants at Lima stand to gain from the com­pre­hen­sive civil/com­mer­cial and de­fence del­e­gates pro­gramme im­ple­mented at the show,“he said.

Ja­cob­son also stressed the im­por­tance of the many side events hap­pen­ing at Lima, in­clud­ing the Asean Avi­a­tion Sum­mit and the In­ter­na­tional Mar­itime Con­fer­ence.

He said these events would see ma­jor play­ers in the in­ter­na­tional mar­itime, aero­space, se­cu­rity and de­fence in­dus­tries as well as com­mer­cial and civil avi­a­tion tak­ing part.

“One of the ob­jec­tives of Lima is to show­case the lat­est civil and de­fence tech­nolo­gies re­lated to mar­itime and aero­space. It is also a place for lo­cal com­pa­nies to pro­mote their prod­ucts at in­ter­na­tional level.

“But, one other ob­jec­tive is equally as im­por­tant, and that is to be a plat­form for dis­cus­sion. So, the avi­a­tion sum­mit and mar­itime con­fer­ence are an im­por­tant part of the Lima set-up.“

Asked why the aero­space and mar­itime ex­hi­bi­tion were sep­a­rated this time around, a throw­back to the first few ex­hi­bi­tions, Ja­cob­son said there were sev­eral ad­van­tages to this.

“The new ded­i­cated mar­itime seg­ment along­side the on-wa­ter dis­play at Re­sorts World Langkawi of­fers a ca­pac­ity of more than 6,000 sq m of in­door and out­door ex­hi­bi­tion ar­eas and is aimed at con­nect­ing the key mar­itime buy­ers, gov­ern­ment agen­cies and in­dus­try lead­ers at one place.

“It is a plat­form for ven­dors and clients to meet and con­duct di­rect dis­cus­sions re­lated to prod­ucts avail­able in the mar­ket. Hav­ing a ded­i­cated mar­itime seg­ment pro­vides just such an op­por­tu­nity. Malaysia is, above all, a mar­itime na­tion and as such, it is fit­ting that the mar­itime seg­ment should have a place all of its own.“

Ja­cob­son said, as new or­gan­is­ers, the com­pany tried to bring in sev­eral new things for the show, with the sep­a­ra­tion of the aero­space ex­hi­bi­tions be­ing one of these.

“Apart from the sep­a­ra­tion of seg­ments, we have a new UAV/AUV (un­manned aerial ve­hi­cles/au­tonomous un­der­wa­ter ve­hi­cles) dis­play seg­ment which will fea­ture such equip­ment as the US Air Force‘s MQ-1 Preda­tor, US Navy‘s MQ-8 Fire Scout, Thales’ Ful­mar mini-UAV, Saab’s Sea Wasp (ROV) and a UAV from Ukraine.

“We also have a new Com­mer­cial Pav­il­ion in which the Trans­port Min­istry has taken the lead to bring to­gether the com­mer­cial mar­itime and avi­a­tion com­mu­nity. The pav­il­ion will fea­ture first-time com­pa­nies from fed­eral port au­thor­i­ties, port oop­er­a­tors, port aux­il­iary ser­vices and cruise lin­ers.“

With Lima 2017 al­most done and dusted, is EN Projects look­ing to the next one in two years‘ time?

Ja­cob­son re­mained coy on this, say­ing: “The fo­cus is on this Lima. This show is im­por­tant and strate­gic, es­pe­cially in pro­mot­ing knowl­edge and tech­nol­ogy ex­change and shar­ing.“

He did, how­ever, have this to say in part­ing: “We en­vi­sion Lima as a plat­form for Asean coun­tries to widen their co­op­er­a­tion net­work with other na­tions. Our main wish is to por­tray to the lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional com­mu­ni­ties that Malaysia is a mar­itime coun­try, with the in­dus­try be­ing an im­por­tant con­trib­u­tor to the coun­try’s econ­omy and sovereignty.

“All the ac­tiv­i­ties at this year’s Lima are fo­cused at fos­ter­ing in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions and co­op­er­a­tion, de­fence tech­nol­ogy, di­a­logues and in­ter­ac­tion at var­i­ous lead­er­ship lev­els. In­deed, Lima is seen as the best medium to tell Malaysians of the im­por­tance of pro­tect­ing our mar­itime se­cu­rity.“

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