Major maritime event opens in Dubai today

Industry professionals to gather at Seatrade Maritime Middle East 2016 exhibition and conference to discuss future global trade growth amid challenging economic environment

International and regional shipping operators, ports, financiers and other maritime professionals will gather in Dubai today (Monday 31st October) for the eighth biennial edition of Seatrade Maritime Middle East (SMME).

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, UAE, and part of Dubai Maritime Week, the three-day exhibition and conference, now in its eighth edition, returns to the Dubai International Conference & Exhibition Centre to welcome the region’s largest gathering of shipping and maritime industry decision makers with almost 7,000 participants from 69 countries expected to attend.

“In the two years since our last event, global trade movement has faced increasingly challenging economic pressures, and the international maritime industry continues to be impacted by future oil price forecasts, the state of the Middle East economy in general and the effect of the Chinese trade slowdown – the timing of this year’s event couldn’t be more pertinent,” said Emma Howell, Group Marketing Manager, Seatrade

This year’s interactive conference programme will once again bring together a panel of maritime industry leaders, influential economists and shipping analysts for an in-depth analysis of where the current industry status quo, and will also examine regional industry opportunities, along with a series of presentations and ground-breaking case studies on key maritime projects, including Egypt’s Suez Canal expansion, and schedule of educational technical forums.

The opening economic forum session on the first morning will be chaired by well-known moderator and broadcast journalist, Eithne Treanor, and features a high profile panel line-up that will set the scene for three days of successful conference discussion. Panelists include Abdulrahman Essa Al-Mannai, President & CEO, Milaha; Marcus Machin, CEO, Tufton Oceanic Finance Group; Admiral Mohab Mohamed Mameesh, Chairman & MD, Suez Canal Authority; Tim Power, MD, Drewry and Tim Fox, Head of Research and Chief Economist at Emirates NBD.

Day two of the event (Tuesday 1 November) presents an action-packed schedule, opening with the Seatrade Tanker conference at which a number of the industry’s most respected experts led by Katharina Stanzel, Managing Director, Intertanko, will engage in a Middle East-focused discussion on the crude oil tanker market and product tanker trading. The half-day session will cover supply growth patterns, demand influencers and a prognosis of potential future earnings, taking into consideration factors such as trade and ton-mile configurations and order book volume; as well as an analysis of the factors influencing and driving product tanker demand.

A brace of technical forums will dominate the early afternoon with sessions examining the critical issues facing an ever-changing seascape in terms of shipping and environmental challenges shipping and environmental challenges, followed by a lively discussion on Crewing: The vital interface, both held in association with IMarEST.

Moderated by Nikeel Idnani, Honorary Secretary, Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (IMarEST) UAE Branch, the panel features a respected group of panelists including Captain Stephen Bligh, Senior Principal Consultant, Head of Section, Maritime Advisory, Region South East Europe & Middle East, DNV GL and Captain Lee Chee Seong, VP – Network Operations, United Arab Shipping Company (SAG).

With demand for technically proficient crew still exceeding supply, the panel will debate the full gamut of contributory factors such as the role of human behaviour in safety at sea and the impact of unmanned ships, the tricky topics of contract ‘sweeteners’ and the possibility of increased funding for industry relevant university and diploma courses.

Another highlight of the three-day event, is hosting the 61st annual International Shipsuppliers & Services Association (ISSA) Convention.

Taking place on 31 October and 1 November, the association has partnered with the UAE National Ship Suppliers Association (UNSSA) to deliver a one-of-a-kind event for maritime industry professionals at which they can connect with leading ship owners, managers and suppliers, learn the latest market trends and innovative solutions, and explore new business opportunities.

In addition to member networking opportunities, the schedule of industry-pertinent keynote addresses and panel discussions will welcome a distinguished cadre of industry luminaries and thought leaders to the podium including Mohammed Al Muallem, SVP & Managing Director, UAE Region, DP World; Nawfal Al Jourani, Head, Dubai Maritime Cluster Office (DMCO) & Director of Communications, Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA); Neville Bissett, General Manager, Ports Development Company, King Abdullah Port; Captain Sanjay Mehta, General Manager, Emarat Maritime; and Saeed Al Malik, Chairman, U.N.S.S.A. & Vice President, ISSA, Member of the Board of Trustees, Emirates Maritime Arbitration Centre & Member of Dubai Maritime Advisory Council.