The biennial international maritime trade show Posidonia 2018, which celebrates its 50th anniversary since its inception, was officially opened this evening in Athens, Greece.
“Greek shipping owns the largest international commercial fleet operating 20% of the global and 50% of the European capacity. This economic activity is responsible for a significant portion of the gross domestic product of Greece. It is worth noting, that the 2017 receipts from Greek shipping activity exceeded the Euro 9 billion mark, showing an increase of 20% compared to 2016,” Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who presided over the event, said.
“The Greek government is investing in infrastructure upgrades required by our shipping industry, while promoting initiatives which support the sector’s expansion in Greece as well as abroad. Our policy regarding the Greek ports, through selected partners who invest in their strategic growth – such is the case with Piraeus’ establishment as an international maritime hub, with the required structure and infrastructure – can further contribute to the country’s economic development and its position on the world map.”
The ceremony signaled the start of what promises to be a very busy week which this year will see 2,010 exhibitors from 92 countries welcoming some 22,000 maritime executives from across the globe.
“We must ensure that the opportunities presented by modern ‘mega trends’ like digitalization, artificial intelligence and the so-called ‘fourth industrial revolution’ are carefully integrated into shipping, balancing the benefits against safety and security concerns, the impact on the environment, on international trade, and on the human element. Greece is one of the most influential IMO Member States. It has been continuously contributing to all aspects of the work of IMO, in its policy and technical issues,” Secretary General of the International Maritime Organisation, Kitack Lim, said.
“ The shipping industry is the foundation for the development and growth of the wider maritime cluster. It is important that this is recognised by societies and lawmakers alike, as shipping is often held disproportionately responsible for meeting environmental standards compared to other industries. This stance is mainly due to a general awareness and understanding of its characteristics and the services it offers to citizens all over the world,” Theodore Veniamis, President of the Union of Greek Shipowners, added.
“I feel obliged, representing institutionally the world’s first shipping industry, to bring to your attention the fact that shipowners are only called upon to respond, with a high degree of professionalism, to the demand for maritime transport of the global trade, which is constantly growing due to the needs of modern societies. However, as shipowners, we have no say in the manufacturing of the ships’ engines, nor are we responsible for the quality of the fuels that we have to use. It is obvious that, while the links in the chain of responsibility are many, it has so far proved to be more expedient, at a political level, to solely focus on shipowners, a choice that is misguided and practically ineffective in the end.”
As explained, without a competitive business environment, shipping as an international economic activity can neither survive nor can it progress.
“This can be achieved through strategic planning with measures that support the sector’s international characteristics, thus allowing for the broad benefits of this entrepreneurial and productive pillar of the EU’s economy to be harnessed,” he added.
According to Theodore Vokos, Executive Director, Posidonia Exhibitions S.A., this is the biggest Posidonia in the event’s 50 year-long history.
Brazil and Poland will be debuting their pavilions next to the more established and traditional national presence of China, Japan, South Korea and western European countries such as the United Kingdom, Denmark and The Netherlands.
In addition, during Posidonia 2018, a constellation of 40 presentations, seminars, speeches and heated panel discussions are yet again expected to set the global shipping agenda and define the future of an industry that sits at the core of world economic developments.
“The constant fleet renewal and diversification pursued by the Greek shipping industry serves as a confirmation that the Greek shipping community will continue operating the largest fleet for many years to come. Posidonia is now established as a unique policy forum where the leaders of the international maritime community can meet and debate the important issues that face the maritime industry,” he said.
Posidonia 2018 will be held from June 4 – 8 at the Athens Metropolitan Expo. The event is organised under the auspices of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs & Insular Policy, the Union of Greek Shipowners and the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping and with the support of the Municipality of Piraeus and the Greek Shipping Co-operation Committee.