ATHENS, May 31 (Xinhua) -- The 2018 Posidonia, the biennial maritime exhibition attracting the elites of the Greek and international shipping industry, will open next week, breaking new records and with strong Chinese presence, organizers said here on Thursday.
Marked by an all-time record in the number of participating companies and floor space, the event has raised the Greek hosts' expectations regarding also the anticipated number of overall visitors to the exhibition, scheduled to be held from June 4-8 at the Athens Metropolitan Expo, they noted.
Over 20,000 people visited the previous Posidonia which is named after Posidon, the God of the Sea in ancient Greek mythology.
"We are happy to announce that this year's Posidonia will be the largest in its 50-year history. This becomes evident when looking at the exhibitors' numbers with over 1,920 companies exhibiting from 92 countries," Theodore Vokos, Executive Director of Posidonia Exhibitions S.A., told Xinhua on the sidelines of the press briefing.
Chinese presence at the event will be the strongest once again, he noted. The Chinese is the largest among the 22 national pavilions, while over 170 stands of Chinese companies have been set up.
"We are particularly pleased to announce that once more the Chinese participation will be the biggest overall with Chinese shipyards, equipment manufactures' and service providers participating en masse and showcasing their products and services on the exhibition floor," Vokos said.
"As you know the Greek ship owning community has a long standing cooperation and friendship with the Chinese shipbuilding industry, and I think that Posidonia highlights this fact that this relationship will remain strong for many years to come," he stressed.
The exhibition, which is organized under the auspices of the Greek shipping ministry, the Greek shipping community and the Municipality of Piraeus among others, is regarded as one of the world's most prestigious shipping trade event.
Addressing the event, Greek Shipping Minister Panagiotis Kouroumblis noted that the Greek mercantile marine sector has played a crucial role in the economic and social development of Greece, helped enhance the country's international reputation and contributed in the cohesion and new job creation efforts of local communities across the nation.
The Posidonia Exhibition presents the best example Greece has to show in terms of entrepreneurship and productivity, he said, pointing to Piraeus, Greece's largest port.
"This is the port with the highest concentration of ship owners. It is a port where in the past three years more than 300 shipping companies have opened new premises. Today over 1,400 shipping and chartering companies operate at the port," Kouroumblis said.
"After a long period of recession, the markets are beginning to show positive signs, and Posidonia, as the most highly acknowledged international shipping forum, provides a reliable platform to present maritime innovations and initiate new business relationships or strengthen existing ones," Theodore Veniamis, President of the Union of Greek Ship owners, said at the press conference.