Sri Lanka boat builders eye Maldivian market

Thursday, 13 August 2009 15:29

An international boat show to be held in the Maldive islands offers opportunities for Sri Lankan boat builders to cater to the archipelago's transport requirements, officials said.

Maldivian high commissioner Ali Hassen Didi said the water transport requirements of the country with 1,190 islands, almost 200 of them inhabited, were growing.

"Some of the boat builders will be interested in exploring opportunities of building boats that will facilitate that transport system," he told a news conference to announce the Maldives International Boat Show.

The exhibition, organised by the Maldives National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Liveaboard Association of Maldives and the Maldives Exhibition and Conference Services, will be held during October 12-14 in Male.

Neil Fernando, a big boat builder and exporter, said most boats for fishing and island services were now built in the Maldives.

"They build 40-50 boats of around 100 feet in length for fishing, each costing around 300-400,000 dollars with engines," he told the news conference.

"When resorts come up, they also order a couple of these vessels."

Imran Hassen, director of the South Asia Exhibition Services Network, which is organisation the show, said the exhibition has grown over the years.

"This year has not been easy especially owing to the economic downturn," he said. "We've had to work harder but this year's show is bigger than in the past."

Last year about 50 companies took part in the show which had 85 stalls.

Hassen said that this year they are targeting almost 145-150 stalls and that 60 firms had confirmed participation so far.

Top boat builders and equipment manufacturers from the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Dubai and China are expected to take part.

"The show will give easy access to the Maldives to Sri Lankan boat manufacturers and service providers," Hassen said.


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