Sat in the Sea Asia Show Daily office for the Sea Asia 2013 exhibition and conference we are surrounded by a frenzy of activity as hundreds of exhibitors set up for the three-day event.
Sea Asia 2013, which we co-organise with the Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF), is the anchor event for Singapore Maritime Week, and held from 9 to 11 April at the iconic Marina Bay Sands integrated resort.
For those who do not know Sea Asia, now in its fourth edition, it is Asia’s fastest growing maritime event. The exhibition and conference will be double the size they were when the event started out in 2007, both in terms of exhibition area and number of participants.
One of the things that really marks Sea Asia out from the crowd is its top level industry participation. Asian shipping and maritime is often accused of lacking a voice and one of the objectives of the show has been to help give it one. Top shipowners from Asia will debate the state of their respective market sectors in interactive panel sessions.
If you want know what the region’s shipping industry thinks, and ask for its leaders opinions, Sea Asia 2013 is the right place to be.
It also begs the question as to whether since we set out in 2007 with aim to promote the Asian voice in world shipping whether the region’s voice has got any louder.
As someone who has reported on the industry in Asia for 16 years now I would definitely say, yes it has. The Asian industry has become more articulate in expressing its opinions, and at the same time, the traditionally western dominated shipping institutions have taken a lot more time and effort to engage the region.
The Asian voice is different from its western counterpart. It tends to be less combative, at least publicly, but this does not mean it does not have a point to make. Asia is also a hugely diverse region so achieving a unified voice can require a lot of carefully debated compromise.
Could the Asian voice be louder and more influential? Yes, but at the same time it continues to strengthen and gain stature in the global industry.