The expansion of the upcoming Posidonia shipping exhibition to an unprecedented size in terms of exhibitor and expected visitor numbers, its span across sectors and the interest it generates among corporations and governments, is being hailed as a “great show of faith” during a period of adversity both for the Greek economy and the shipping industry in general.
Posidonia 2016 will take place at the Metropolitan Expo Center, next to Athens Airport from June 6 to 10, and, as its organizers confirmed at Thursday’s press conference in Piraeus, it will host more than 1,800 exhibitors from 89 countries and over 20,000 visitors. Due to the anticipated growth in attendance, It had to increase the space booked for the event by 15 percent from the previous edition in 2014, to reach 40,000 square meters.
“The growth of Posidonia is the result of the resilience of the Greek shipping industry, which has managed to cope with the current challenging conditions and maintains its leadership position thanks to its entrepreneurial spirit,” said Theodore Vokos, executive director of Posidonia Exhibitions.
“Posidonia 2016 is the most prominent yet. There can be no more eloquent acknowledgment of the Greek shipping community’s success and dynamism than this,” added Posidonia Coordinating Committee chairman Yiannis Lyras, with Haralambos Fafalios, chairman of the Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee in London, noting that “even though Greece is still trying to recover from many years of difficulty, its shipping industry is flying the flag,” and that the event’s growth “constitutes a great show of faith” in the local industry.
Shipping Minister Theodoros Dritsas expressed the government’s support of the event and the sector: “Posidonia is an opportunity that we should not allow to pass without utilizing it, and we will not,” he said, without elaborating on how his ministry – under the auspices of which the event is taking place – intends to make the most of it, besides a vague reference to the timeless objectives of strengthening the Greek register and supporting the naval education of Greeks.
Among the issues expected to dominate discussions during this 25th Posidonia will be European Commission pressure to alter the tax status of shipping in Greece. Union of Greek Shipowners chief Theodore Veniamis spoke of “misguided EU policy approaches” and Fafalios dubbed it “a dark cloud on the horizon that puts the positions of Greece and the EU under threat in global shipping.”
One of the special features this year is the Posidonia Games, involving 2,500 participants. These sporting and networking events consist of the established Posidonia Cup Yacht Race taking place on Friday in Faliro Bay, a 5-kilometer road race in downtown Piraeus, a golf tournament at Glyfada and a five-a-side soccer tournament in Nea Smyrni.