Asia Set To Drive The Global Container Market As Regional Economies Gain Ground Led By China

Global container trades are stabilising and the expansion of Asian economies will be the key to trade growth in the future, a senior industry executive said today.

Eng Aik Meng, President of APL, said today that economic growth across the Asia region, led by China, will play a significant role in the health of the container shipping markets in the foreseeable future.

He noted: “Economic activity in China has rebounded to levels not seen since the Lehman Brothers collapse which led to the global recession. The strength of China’s economy and the robust growth of the economies in south-east Asia will open up exciting new markets for container shipping operators.”

Mr Eng was speaking at a press conference hosted by Seatrade and the Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF) today, co-organisers of Sea Asia 2011 which will open for three days from 12-14 April at Marina Bay Sands® in Singapore. He will be one of the speakers at the opening day Container Shipping and Logistics session which will be chaired by Mr S.S. Teo, Managing Director of PIL and President of the Singapore Shipping Association.

Mr Eng said that while the Asian economies were robust, the container sector itself had issues which it had to tackle to ensure its long term health. These include rising costs and the challenge of meeting service delivery expectations in an era of lengthening supply chains.

There is a need to continue promoting the maritime sector across the region and boost human resources so there is the right level of expertise and experience to handle growth efficiently, he said.

He predicted growth in the intra-Asia trades and increased competition among container carriers.

The central theme of Sea Asia, The Asian Voice in World Shipping, will be further projected in the event’s other conference sessions led by top executives of leading international companies from Asian nations as well as Europe and other areas.

Other industry leaders lined up to speak at the Sea Asia 2011 conference include Yudhishthir Khatau, Vice Chairman and MD, Varun Shipping, also President Designate of the Baltic & International Maritime Council (BIMCO); Harald Serck-Hanssen, Global Head of Shipping, Offshore and Logistics, DnB NOR ASA; Philip Clausius, President & CEO, FSL Trust Management; Akira Akiyama, Division Vice President Engineering, Pacific Division, ABS; Remi Eriksen, COO & Head of Division Asia, Pacific & Middle East, DNV; Roger Roue, Principal Technical Advisor of the Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators’ (SIGTTO); Andreas Sohmen-Pao, CEO, BW Group and CH Tong, CEO, Keppel Offshore & Marine.

As Sea Asia delivers an optimistic message to the international maritime community, now recovering from the global economic crisis, the organisers have reported satisfaction with the event’s continued growth and reputation. “Sea Asia is recognised not only as a platform for the exchange of knowledge and opinion, but as a recovery tool for sales and marketing teams seeking to expand customer bases. Its value is underscored by the strong support we have from the international shipping industry,” said Chris Hayman, Chairman of Seatrade.

More than 95% of the exhibition space has already been booked by maritime, shipping and offshore-related companies and the organisers confidently expect to surpass the numbers of the last Sea Asia, when over 10,000 executives from 62 countries came for the three-day event.

Seatrade and SMF are honoured to have Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Mr Teo Chee Hean as the Guest of Honour to officially open Sea Asia 2011 and tour the exhibition on the morning of April 12.

“Through Sea Asia, we hope to be the focal point for the global maritime community to congregate in Singapore and most importantly, provide the platform for Asian maritime leaders to share their insightful perspectives on the various aspects of the maritime business with the world. We certainly hope to make Sea Asia the iconic maritime show of Singapore,” said Michael Chia, Chairman of SMF.

Sea Asia 2011 is principally sponsored by DnB NOR Bank ASA, Executive Ship Management, Lloyd’s Register, NOL Group and RightShip. Other sponsors include ABB Pte. Ltd., ABS, Admiralty, Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK), DNV, DNV Petroleum Services, DVB Bank, GAC, General Organisation of Sea Ports, Bahrain, Germanischer Lloyd, Heidrick & Struggles, HMS Far East Pte Ltd, Ince & Co, International Shipcare, Jurong Port, Keppel Offshore & Marine, Lukoil Marine Lubricants Ltd, MTM Ship Management, Panama Maritime Authority, Pacific International Lines (PIL), PSA, Sembcorp Marine, ShipServ, Standard Chartered Bank, The Standard P&I Club, Tiger Oil Marine and V Ships.

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