Emma Hamilton, Middle East Marketing Manager at Seatrade
Middle East Workboats 2011, the region’s leading event for workboat operators, builders and equipment suppliers returns to Abu Dhabi at a time when the maritime industry is rapidly accelerating in countries across the Gulf.
Renewed growth across various important maritime and related sectors including harbour and escort tug business, support and servicing along with coastal construction, energy exploration and production and others underscores the importance of this event.
A key opportunity in the sector is created by the ageing fleet of workboats in the region, with an estimated 40-50% of these more than 20 years old, requiring extensive capital investment in the months ahead in modernising and upgrading vessels.
“Driven by a number of factors, the workboat sector is now once again firmly back in expansion mode, as evidenced by the interest this year’s Middle East Workboats has generated already,” said Emma Hamilton, Middle East Marketing Manager at Seatrade, organisers of Middle East Workboats, which runs from 3-5 October 2011 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).
“From landing craft delivering plant and construction equipment, to ferry and water taxi craft visiting new island developments off the Abu Dhabi coastline, supporting land reclamation and new port development along with greenfields energy exploration in the Gulf, Red Sea, and Oman, existing vessels are in rising demand,” added Hamilton.
Another factor driving renewed investment in workboat fleets is high oil prices, prompting demand for increasingly sophisticated vessels, as new oil and gas exploration activity sees companies push further into deeper waters, especially areas of the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea.
Middle East Workboats 2011 understands the issues that are most important to workboat operators and other organisations supporting the sector, with technical seminars and roundtables addressing the leading trends and challenges for this vital maritime sector.
The show also features numerous networking opportunities for people at all levels of the global and regional industry, both during the exhibition and conference programme and also through the golf tournament, sponsored again this year by Lamnalco.
A new feature for this year’s event is Student Question Time. To be held on the first afternoon, this event will enable industry students to challenge a panel of experts on a series of topics that are facing the industry worldwide. All visitors are invited to see the students challenge the industry to challenge themselves.
The second afternoon will see another new feature – Round Tables sessions. Again, all visitors are invited to participate in the industry led round table sessions which are designed to be interactive rather than lecture-style where participants are able to ask questions, share experiences and learn from others.
Middle East Workboats 2011 will play a crucial role in connecting suppliers and boat-builders, also providing a forum for suppliers and the full range of other industry stakeholders. In addition to the exhibition, the conference programme also draws leading figures from across the region and the international workboat and maritime space, who will address the issues, opportunities and challenges facing the industry.
Among the issues that will be under discussion this year is the modernisation trends in workboats, along with the rapid technological advances and unprecedented sophistication in the latest workboat designs and applications.