GCC maritime sector ‘set to expand’
Abu Dhabi, November 6, 2013
The maritime sector in the GCC is set for an expansion which includes world class players in ship-owning, offshore support, port development, ship repair and other areas, said experts at a major sea trade forum in Abu Dhabi.
The current state and future prospects of the maritime sector in the UAE and the wider GCC formed the agenda for the Seatrade Shipping and Investment Forum yesterday (November 5).
Keynote speaker Khamis Juma Buamim, chairman and Group CEO of Drydocks World and Maritime World talked about the major impact of the oil and gas industry on the region's maritime potential and in particular the growth potential for the region in the offshore sector.
In the container trades, Mohammed Al Muallem, senior vice president and managing director, UAE Region of DP World, told the audience that global port handling in Q2 of 2013 was 3.2 per cent higher than in the same period for 2012.
He pointed out that changes in the pattern of world trade mean that a significant shift in trade volumes is underway.
Whereas East West routes accounted for 40.8 per cent of total container shipping volumes in 2012 (68.7m TEU) the picture would look different by 2015, when 32 per cent of volume would be intra-Asian trade, 9 per cent would be Middle East and Africa to Asia, and 5 per cent would be between Latin America and Asia.
The economy of the GCC countries continues to diversify, he said, with about $3 trillion worth of projects now underway across the GCC. The region's role as exporter is also growing, with petrochemical crackers and aluminium smelters leading the way and new industries such ceramics, glass, cement and steel being established.
Harry Vafias, CEO of the Vafias Group, which is the third biggest ship owning group in Greece with a fleet of 75 vessels, and a major player in the international transport of gas and crude oil, spoke of the opportunities for greater cooperation and joint ventures between the region and international shipping partners, including the Greeks.
The regulatory agenda for the shipping industry worldwide was highlighted in a presentation by Omar Abu Omar, Area Manager Middle East, DNV GL Maritime, who analysed the complex choices facing shipowners in the face of regulations on air emissions and segregated ballast management, as well as the complicated alternative technologies for fuel economy.
An example of the emerging maritime sector is the formation last year of Tasneef Emirates Classification Society, whose CEO, Colonel Rashed Al Hebsi, told the audience that the new organisation was already ahead of schedule in its development with its first crude oil tanker signed up just last week. – TradeArabia News Service