The 2020 Posidonia exhibition is on track to set new records in exhibitor numbers and floor space for its upcoming edition this summer, as the world’s most prestigious exhibition in the biennial maritime calendar is entering its sixth consecutive decade of continuous service to the ocean-going Greek shipping community and the international maritime industry.

Between June 1 and 5, over 2,000 exhibitors from over 90 countries and tens of thousands of trade visitors from all over the world are expected to walk the 50,000sqm of the Athens Metropolitan Expo, as the exhibition floor and the adjacent conference halls will be brimming with decision-makers and officials of the global shipping community.

Greek shipping’s continuous newbuilding appetite, currently set at some 200 newbuildings on order, continuous upgrade of fleet and exploration of new propulsion options, as well as an increased drive for digitalisation, spearhead the continuous growth of Posidonia.

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But new environmental regulations and their implementation will be on everyone’s mind. Hence, one of the key questions eagerly awaiting an answer at Posidonia 2020 is the impact the first six months of low sulphur regulations implementation will have had on the spirits of an otherwise high-flying sector, which transports 90% of global trade.

The Union of Greek Shipowners’ (UGS) President, Theodore Veniamis, said: “This year’s Posidonia Exhibition is taking place at a time that marks major changes in the global shipping industry. The implementation of the global sulphur cap in marine fuels, with whatever challenges this has raised, and the ongoing discussions at the United Nations International Maritime Organization (UN IMO) about the adoption of short and medium-term measures for the reduction of the CO2 emissions from ships are two of the most important issues that the Union of Greek Shipowners has been actively following. At an EU level, the environmental agenda of the European institutions is also a critical issue that needs awareness and attention on behalf of the shipping industry.

“The shipping industry, indispensable as it is for world trade in essential goods and other cargoes, is fully committed to the climate change agenda for full decarbonisation and has already taken important initiatives in this direction through the UN IMO global regulations. However, full decarbonisation of the shipping sector cannot be achieved without new fuels and propulsion technologies available globally.”

And he added: “We have every confidence that Posidonia 2020 will once again provide a valuable platform for constructive discussions on such policy issues, in addition to the commercial and business goals they have been serving successfully over so many decades.”

As a key stakeholder of international shipping, UGS’ concerns set the Posidonia 2020 agenda and will fuel heated debates between industry executives, government officials and regulators on a vast range of issues which shape the future of the industry.

At the epicentre of the discourse during Posidonia 2020 will be the burning issue of the emissions-curbing regulations as it remains to be seen how the global ocean-going fleet operators have adapted to the implementation challenges. 

George Pateras, President, Hellenic Chamber of Shipping, commented: “Despite shipping’s small overall contribution to pollution, collectively the shipping community will continue to be innovative and groundbreaking in reducing greenhouse gases and CO2. This year’s Posidonia will give all players the opportunity to debate a plethora of pending issues from power limits to bunker levies not forgetting the desperate search for 2020 compliant fuel.”

The fuel debate is fueling demand for exhibitor floor space and the exhibition is expected to welcome over 50 new exhibitors, including oil majors such as Total and its lubes division Total Lubmarine and the national pavilions of Sri Lanka and Romania. And with less than four months still to go, riding the wave of the new environmental regulations, more than 20 scrubber manufacturers have already signed up, hoping to capitalize on the growing demand for their offering. Also, in the spotlight are some 15 bunker traders and bunker consultants, who are getting ready for a very busy exhibition as the market’s uncertainty about availability and quality of VLSFO and ULSFO continues. 

“Demand for Posidonia 2020 space is growing strong each and every day, thanks to many new and even more returning exhibitors from every conceivable maritime industry sector and market segment,” said Theodore Vokos, Managing Director, Posidonia Exhibitions S.A, the organisers of the event.

“The strength of Greek shipping is a major magnet for exhibitors from all over the world and a key factor for the prolific deal-making activity that takes place throughout the Posidonia week”, he said.

“The industry has to walk a tightrope to balance between the implementation of the low sulphur regulations and IMO’s stated goal for gas emissions reduction by 50% within the next three decades. Shipping is undergoing transformational changes in order to comply, and that is driving investment in R&D and new technologies. Posidonia is the ideal forum to showcase solutions and to network with a captive audience of potential buyers, partners and suppliers.”

The viability of the regulators’ ambitious goals and the industry’s readiness to develop technologies and solutions designed to aid compliance for the industry are topics to be tabled and discussed during various conferences and seminars at Posidonia 2020. The issues will be highlighted extensively at two separate events organised by the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association (HELMEPA) and the Hellenic Institute of Marine Technology (HIMT).

The ever popular Posidonia Games’ sporting calendar will feature the 1st Posidonia Squash Tournament bringing to five the number of sports events the thousands of participants can chose from. It will be held on Saturday 30 May 2020 at the brand-new state-of-the-art Wave Squash Sports Club, situated within the Port of Piraeus. Overlooking the port entrance and passing by ferries, five new squash courts will welcome the international shipping community for an afternoon of intense squash games, excitement, fun, competition and networking in the run-up to the Posidonia exhibition. Beginners and advanced players are all welcome and the event will culminate in a fun awards ceremony and reception within the Squash Club premises.

The Posidonia Cup Sailing Race, the Posidonia Shipsoccer Tournament, the Posidonia Running Event and the Posidonia Golf Tournament will also take place to once again bring the shipping community together the weekend before the busy Posidonia week.

Posidonia is organised under the auspices of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs & Insular Policy, the Union of Greek Shipowners and the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping and with the support of the Municipality of Piraeus and the Greek Shipping Co-operation Committee.