Mumbai, November 12, 2009: The world has come to recognize the potential of the Indian shipping industry, its capability to innovate and grow on the global stage, said APVN Sarma, former Secretary, Shipping, at the inaugural shipbuilding, machinery & marine technology trade fair and exhibition. Speaking at the opening conference, Maritime India-The Path Ahead, Mr. Sarma added, “Given India‘s continuous growth rate, I am upbeat all sectors related to shipping have enormous scope.”

“The SMM exhibition is being organised at a very appropriate time”, said Arun K Mago, Chairman, Advisory Council, SMM India 2009. Mago said, “Though India and China were not affected as much as by other developed countries, it has had an adverse affect on the shipping trade. It has been one of the worst moments for the sector in living memory. But it is now that we need to address the challenges that face shipping and maritime in India.”

SMM India has an immense potential to become a high valuable partner in the global maritime sector on the back of global growth opportunities, ideas and technology solutions. Bernd Aufderheide, CEO& President Hamburg Messe Und Congress GMBH said, “We are pleased to have created a subsidiary in India. SMM will be able to improve its position in the leading fairs around the globe on maritime sector. India is regarded as one of the leading growth drivers along with China. The subcontinent will be one of the leading growth markets for German companies and others located elsewhere in the world.”

Speaking at the conference Hauke V. Schlegel, Managing Director, VDMA said, “The world is amazed by how resilient the Indian economy has been. It is high time for the domestic maritime industry to capitalize on the international trade forum and explore the ´unchartered‘ waters across the globe in the face of economic slowdown. I am confident that SMM India 2009 will yield new ideas and technology solutions for growth of the maritime sector.‘‘

Speaking on the coming together of India and Germany, Schlegel said, “Germany is a leading maritime nation and India is an upcoming nation in the shipping and maritime sector and both have the wherewithal to navigate through the present crisis and usher in a successful tomorrow.”
SMM India 2009 provides a platform for dialogue and business interaction between over 100 exhibitors from all parts of the world. Among the exhibitors, 50 are Indian shipyards and marine equipment suppliers who will present their latest technologies and products.

The conference, which accompanies the trade show, had a host of eminent speakers covering the entire spectrum of shipping and maritime industry in India and in other countries. Market leaders from around the globe have converged here to showcase their expertise and also to enhance their business relations with India which is fast emerging shipbuilding nation, or to optimise their starting positions in the market.

According to analysts, shipping companies will remain in choppy waters for another 12 to 18 months because the exim trade is not yet out of the woods and there is still a glut of vessels available. Similarly, earnings from shipping will remain subdued as global economies have shown narrow improvement.

However, speakers at the conference pointed out that with the global economic crisis gradually coming to an end, India and China will be among the key driving forces for growth in the global economy.

At the same time, exhibitors at the first SMM India looked upbeat in making use of this opportunity for easy and faster access to the market. Companies from across the globe are exploring new opportunities to get into business with India‘s maritime industries and the neighbouring countries as well.

“The international ship building and offshore industry has a new base at SMM India to develop the enormous potential of the Indian maritime market. India is following a clear course for development of the maritime sector to international standards. And the fastest way for Indian industry to move ahead is by means of international partnerships,” said Hauke Schlegel, Executive Director of the Shipbuilding and Offshore Supply Section of the German Engineering Federation (VDMA).

It is emerging clear that the use of new and advanced technologies will boost growth in the maritime sector in India. Speakers at the conference said companies from all over the globe are opening offices in India, looking to bring technology, investment, products and services to India's maritime sector. Others are looking to create joint ventures, locate distributors and capture market share.

Micheal Rosenburg, Vice President, EJ Krause & Associates, Inc, said, “India has become a key player in the world stage and is on its way becoming the third superpower in the world. There is a tremendous opportunity for companies in the shipping sector to grow considering India‘s continuous growth story. India is looking at an investment of 17.2 bn USD in this sector the next 1-2 years.” Rosenburg added, “These are huge and real opportunities in ship building, dredging, offshore technologies, port management and logistics”.

´â€˜The objective of SMM India is to open the doors for global opportunities for marine, shipping, shipbuilding, ports and logistics manufacturers and service providers,‘‘ Rajan Sharma said, adding that the trade fair is set to provide solutions to help the Indian maritime industry meet challenges and continue to become globally competitive by showcasing the latest innovations to end-users.