Biennial Seatrade Middle East Maritime conference returns to Dubai

DUBAI: International and regional shipping operators, ports, financiers and maritime professionals will meet in Dubai at the forthcoming Seatrade Middle East Maritime (SMEM) summit and exhibition to discuss the opportunities and challenges that global fleet growth will present to the region as it steadily develops into a world-class centre of excellence for ship repair and refurbishment.

Seatrade, organisers of Seatrade Middle East Maritime said the three-day event which starts on 28th October 2014 has dedicated a panel session to ship repair, which has attracted high profile experts including Geoffrey Taylor, Managing Director, Topaz Marine Engineering, U.A.E. and Lars Seistrop, Managing Director, Damen Shipyards Sharjah & Albwardy Marine Engineering, UAE, who will debate the issues surrounding ship repair and refurbishment.

“The Middle East is a world-class centre of excellence for ship repair with a number of well respected shipyards already offering a diverse range of services. We are seeing new joint ventures between the region and Asia in the dry dock sector, with the Gulf set to offer the largest ship repair capacity outside of China,” noted Chris Hayman, Chairman of Seatrade.

According to Drewry Maritime Research’s Q1 2014 report ‘Ship Operating Costs Annual Review & Forecast’, ship operators remained under pressure to keep operating costs to a minimum in 2013 due to weak freight earnings, with restrictive repairs and maintenance regimes instigated in order to counter rises in expenditure. This was supported by last year’s weak steel prices, but with new regulations and an element of catch-up in repair due, Drewry expects repair and maintenance expenditure to rise by at least 2.5-3% per annum over the next two years.

Seatrade Middle East Maritime is the largest event in the regional calendar for the maritime industry with more than 8,000 participants from 67 countries expected to attend, following a record turnout in 2012. The event is an integral part of Dubai Maritime Week which runs concurrently.

“SMEM 2012 welcomed 7,065 attendees, 242 exhibiting companies from 33 countries and covered exhibition floor space totalling 4,338 square metres – a 7% increase on 2010,” added Hayman.