Boating experts converge in Dubai to discuss opportunities for lucrative GCC marine industry

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Gulf Boating Conference and industry seminars to provide key insights into the growing Middle East boating market

Gulf Boating Conference and industry seminars to provide key insights into the growing Middle East boating market
Gulf Boating Conference and industry seminars to provide key insights into the growing Middle East boating market

As ongoing progress on major waterfront developments across the GCC is stimulating the marine industry, from boat-building through to equipment and supply, as well as the economy, it is essential that industry players keep abreast of the latest developments, innovations and trends.

Given this accelerated pace of development, the Gulf Boating Conference and Luxury Supplies and Services (LSS) and Equipment Supplies and Services (ESS) Industry Seminars provide an important opportunity for professionals to network and understand the changes occurring across the region. The Gulf Boating Conference entitled “The Evolving Middle East Boating Market”, and sponsored by Abu Dhabi National Insurance Company (ADNIC), takes place on March 6, 2013 during the Dubai International Boat Show, which runs from March 5-9, 2013, at the Dubai International Marine Club – Mina Seyahi. A Trade Panel Debate, including some of the region’s top boat manufacturers, marina operators, marina authorities, marina construction companies and dealers, will also take place during the Gulf Boating Conference. The debating panel includes representatives from Art Marina Marinas, Bellingham Marine, Exalto Emirates, Gulf Craft and Majesty Yachts, HISWA and Macky Marine. The LSS and ESS Industry Seminars take place from March 6 – 7, 2013 with topics ranging from training and development, diving in the GCC, yacht interiors and new technologies.

Gulf Boating Conference keynote speaker Hassan Al Hashemi, External Relations Director for the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, notes that Dubai’s economy is on the upswing, which bodes well for the marine industry. “Dubai is seeing trade surpass all previous levels. Our members, for example, have seen a 9% increase in exports and re-exports year-on-year in 2012, and our membership increased by the same percentage – a good indication of new companies coming to Dubai overall.”

Al Hashemi added: “We predict that key economy pillars such as trade, tourism and logistics are expected to continue to lead this year and there is a strong picture moving forward with our members already recording a 13% increase in trade in January compared to the same month in 2012. The rapid increase in new projects in the Emirate such as the Creek Canal extension and the JBR Bluewaters Island project is testament to investor confidence. Dubai Chamber has two very active business groups – the Dubai Shipping Agents Association and Dubai Council for Marine and Maritime Industries that operate alongside 25 other business groups to support the maritime industry. We have over 1,360 members working in the maritime industry, and this sector has significant potential to grow.”

Similarly, the Gulf boating market is experiencing considerable growth in marina berths and boat sales according to a 2012 GCC and regional boating market report. From 2009 through to the end of 2012, marina berths in the GCC were estimated to grow from 11,000 to 14,925, an increase of almost 4,000 berths the report stated.

Nawfal Al Jourani, Communications Director for the Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA), will be presenting at the LSS and ESS Industry Seminars and commented that the power of ensuring best practice for safety standards lies with the marine community. “Now we are engaging communities and the public to adopt these safety standards in the marine community, because boating in particular usually involves the entire family,” he said.

“Dubai has long been associated with excellence, and we want to create the same level of excellence and quality in the maritime industry – in all aspects from shipping, to boating, to recreational activities and more. The boating community is aware of this existing system, and now it’s time to bring in the public,” Al Jourani added.

Also speaking at the LSS and ESS Industry Seminars is Richard Bailey, Managing Director of Sealift 2 – a new boat lift technology that cuts the cost of antifouling and gel coat restoration for boats that is new to the UAE. “Traditionally, at least once a year in the off season, which is the height of summer in Dubai, marine vessels must be lifted out of the water in order to scrape off barnacles and apply anti-fouling paint which slows the growth of damaging organisms on the hull, which usually takes several days and is extremely expensive. Sealift2 is a new technology that reduces this process to a matter of hours using new technologies and processes that boat owners in the UAE are not yet aware of. With this new technology, the boat is standing on its keel supported above the water line, so once the antifoul paint is touch dry, and the boat can relaunch within hours,” Bailey added.

Trixee Loh, Senior Vice President for Dubai World Trade Centre, organiser of Dubai International Boat Show said: “The Dubai International Boat Show is a vital sales platform for the industry both regionally and globally however, knowledge exchange and engaging with leaders in the field is equally imperative for the industry to further flourish. The conference and seminar line-up will provide the latest insights on boating trends and developments while also offering an unrivalled opportunity to network with thought leaders in the marine industry.”

The 21st Dubai International Boat Show takes place at the Dubai International Marine Club, Mina Seyahi from March 5-9, 2013. The event will be open to trade visitors and the general public from 3pm – 9:30pm daily.

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