Opportunities and challenges top Seatrade agenda

Dubai: The opportunities and challenges faced by the Middle East maritime industry will top the agenda at an upcoming event in Dubai.

The Seatrade Middle East Maritime exhibition and conference will run from October 28 to 30 at the Dubai International Conference and Exhibition Centre.

Chris Hayman, chairman of organisers, Seatrade, said: “According to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), world trade growth of 4.5 per cent is expected this year, which although slower than the five per cent previously forecast, it is still nearly double the 2.5 per cent growth expected for 2013.

“The WTO added that conditions for improved trade are gradually falling into place, although the past few years of sluggish trade growth had reinforced the need to make progress in the multilateral negotiations.” The GCC trade surplus is estimated to have hit at least $492 billion last year, and the exports topped $1 trillion in 2012, a third of which were exported from UAE ports, said the report. Hydrocarbons represented $692 billion or almost 70 per cent of the total export value.

“Given the global economic backdrop, these are impressive figures, the GCC is now the 12th largest economy in the world reaching $1.56 trillion in 2012 according to the National Bank of Abu Dhabi,” added Hayman.

“With more than 90 per cent of worldwide trade moving by sea, these economic pointers fare well for the region’s shipping industry which remains a vital part of commercial activity. Even if the Eurozone continues to produce anaemic growth, it is hardly likely to hurt the oil exporters in the Gulf countries because the Eurozone sources the majority of its hydrocarbons from Russia and West Africa,” said Hayman.

The conference will bring together a panel of maritime industry leaders, influential economists and shipping analysts to address these and other key industry issues.

The experts will provide critical insight into what the future holds for trade patterns, energy demand and supply, investment, mergers and acquisitions, infrastructure and their effect on the regional maritime industry, short to medium term.