ATHENS, June 7, 2016 (Xinhua) -- Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (2nd L, front) cuts the ribbon during the opening ceremony of Posidonia 2016 in Athens, Greece, on June 6, 2016. Posidonia 2016, the largest and most prestigious maritime exhibition internationally, was inaugurated here on Monday by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in the presence of numerous officials, exhibitors and delegates from around the globe. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)
by Maria Spiliopoulou
ATHENS, June 7 (Xinhua) -- Posidonia 2016, the largest and most prestigious maritime exhibition internationally, was inaugurated here on Monday by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in the presence of numerous officials, exhibitors and delegates from around the globe.
Addressing the biennial event at the Metropolitan Expo Center next to the Greek capital's International Airport Tsipras hailed the achievements of Greek shipping, one of the traditionally stronger pillars of the national economy, and its significant contribution to Greek economy.
Despite the rough seas in recent years as a result of the global economic crisis Greek ship owners held on to their leading position in the international level, the Greek leader noted.
"The Greek shipping sector's growth model could act as a positive example for the establishment of a new development model (for Greece)," he stressed during the opening ceremony, calling for closer cooperation to make the best use of Greece's comparative advantages to help the wider efforts to exit the six-year debt crisis.
"Our country's geostrategic position combined with the key location of Greek ports guarantee the prospects for enhancing Greece's role as a strategic gateway for products and services to Europe," Tsipras underlined.
China holds a key role in these efforts in particular after the privatization of Piraeus Port Authority this year. Sino-Greek cooperation in the maritime sector has a long history and broad prospects, officials from both sides and experts have stressed.
Posidonia 2016 is the largest show ever in the five decades long history of the event, highlighting the importance of Greek shipping for the global economy, organizers said.
Over the next four days some 20,000 visitors are expected to visit the kiosks of more than 1,800 exhibitors from 89 countries representing all sectors of the industry.
Until the curtains come down on June 10 representatives of the global maritime community will showcase their achievements, exchange views on the most challenging issues and emerging trends as well as explore investment opportunities and clinch cooperation deals.
This year's exhibition includes over 40 conferences, seminars and workshops, Theodore Vokos, Executive Director of Posidonia Exhibitions underlined addressing Monday's ceremony.
The event is organized under the auspices of the Greek shipping community and major associations representing Greek shipping interests, such as the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Municipality of Piraeus.