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Dubai Emerging As Leading Maritime Hub

by Lorys Charalambous,, Cyprus

07 December 2006

Dubai's maritime sector is growing by more than 10% annually and will continue to grow strongly as the emirate puts in place a world class maritime infrastructure, according to Dubai World chairman Sultan Bin Sulayem.

Speaking at the opening of the Seatrade Middle East Maritime (SMEM) exhibition at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), Bin Sulayem said that Dubai's will soon become a global maritime hub, mirroring the emirate's success as an aviation centre.

"The facilities and infrastructure to serve the international maritime industry are still not ready but the sector is growing locally at between 10-15% a year," he stated.

"This will surge when Dubai Maritime City opens offering everything for all sectors of the marine sector within one integrated development - the first of its kind in the world for this industry. Dubai Drydock will be incorporated and have the world's largest ship repair capacity," he added.

Bin Sulayem also predicted that the super yacht industry would in time migrate to Dubai from the Mediterranean to take advantage of its superior docking facilities and other infrastructure.

"We will have sufficient capacity and facilities for mega yachts which can use Dubai as a touring base for other destinations, such as Oman and even the Maldives. As far as the industry is concerned, this is going to be one of the most exciting places in the world," he said.

The SMEM, now in its third year, is the Middle East's premier maritime event, which this year featured 250 exhibitors from 32 countries.

Organisers of the event say that the outlook for the shipping industry in the Middle East is increasingly positive with virtually all sectors experiencing regional growth. In particular, trade links between the Middle East and the Subcontinent are expanding at a "phenomenal pace," with Dubai seen at the centre of this growth.

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