Dubai - Jamal Majid bin Thaniah, director and vice-chairman of DP World, added that cooperation was key to taking growth forward.
The inaugural Maritime Standard Ship Finance and Trade Conference, which took place in Abu Dhabi recently, highlighted the opportunity that exists for sustained growth and expansion within the region's shipping and ports sectors, provided investment is sustained and cooperation between various stakeholders strengthened.
A stellar line up of speakers and panelists from the worlds of shipping, ports, finance and law set out the gains that could be made and the challenges that have to be overcome. After a welcome by Salem Al Zaabi, director-general of the Federal Transport Authority - Land and Marine, Dr Ali Obaid Al Yabhouni, chief executive of Adnatco-NGSCO, highlighted the importance of investing in local human resources, as well as ships.
"We need to continue investing if we are to grow," he said.
Jamal Majid bin Thaniah, director and vice-chairman of DP World, added that cooperation was key to taking growth forward. "The dividing line between risk and reward is very small," he said, "It is up to us to seize the opportunities that are there."
He was followed by former Greek finance minister Petros Doukas, who led a high-level Greek ship-owner delegation to the event. Doukas underlined the lack of liquidity in the market, and the fact that it was still not easy for shipping companies to borrow money. He also noted the challenge that Arab banks faced in competing on a global scale.
Khamis Juma Buamim, chairman of the board of DDW-PaxOcean Asia, told the audience there was a need to create opportunities with real growth-orientated policies.
"It is the time for leadership and vision. We need to invest and innovate to capitalise on the huge potential that exists," he concluded.
The keynote session ended with a speech by Capt Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, chief executive of Abu Dhabi Ports and host of the event. He argued that "ports in the region need to adopt advanced technology to generate expansion and growth."