zoom Business seems to be thriving for regional ship repair operators participating in this year’s Posidonia Exhibition, in particular for shipyards from Turkey and Portugal which have used the event to seal several business deals.“We have concluded three major deals during the first two days of Posidonia. Of those, two are repair projects for a tanker and a bulk carrier and the third is a rather significant conversion project for a ROPAX type vessel belonging to an Italian owner,” said Nedime Ozoglu, Repair Division Marketing & Estimating, Besiktas Shipyard.“Greek shipowners constitute 80 percent of our portfolio because of the proximity mainly and because Turkey’s shipbuilding industry has significantly improved its talent pool and expertise recently,” she added.Portugal’s Lisnave and Turkey’s Gemak, have also inked repair deals with fleet owners during the first few days of Posidonia 2016. “We have managed to conclude a few business deals during this week mainly routine mainstream repair projects of various sizes. This is a great, given the current market’s prevailing conditions with a weak freight market and China’s perennial dominance in the bulk carrier sector,” Alex Scaramangas of Resolute Marine Services, the exclusive representative of the two yards in Greece, said.As far as the outlook and future prospects, Scaramangas believes that the sector will improve.“A lot of dry docking repairs were brought forward in 2015 in order to avoid implementation of the BWT system so, subsequently, we were left with a bit of a vacuum in the first half of 2016. We remain optimistic, however, because shipping is a cyclical industry and on the bulker market, specifically, the consensus is that there will be some improvement.”This view is shared by Ozoglu who believes that 2016 will be a better than expected year for the ship repair sector in Turkey.“In 2015 we repaired many Greek vessels, but January 1st 2016 we suddenly saw that the market is going down and repair activity stopped because of the developments regarding the BWT regulation. The vessels got the extension and so everyone is now waiting. Many customers we have spoken with at Posidonia this week share the opinion that the market is improving marginally. While 2016 as a whole will not be better than last year, it will be better than expected,” she added.A total of ten Turkish shipyards participate at Posidonia 2016, all facing strong competition from Romania, Bulgaria and the Ukraine which can compete on price, which is an advantage Western European shipyards simply can’t have as a result of different cost structures and market conditions.“Lisnave provides excellent service with capacity to accommodate six vessels simultaneously on dry dock, but we cannot compare European shipyards with China, not even Turkey, which is more competitive in terms of price,” added Scaramangas, whose company is also the representative of smaller ship yards in Senegal, which can accommodate Panama Size vessels, Bahrain and one more Portuguese yard on the banks of Tagus River.“Posidonia is very important for us, not just because we conclude specific business during the show, but simply because our absence would be noticed. It is a good opportunity to meet with clients who visit the venue and it offers great networking opportunities through the various social events,” added Scaramangas.More than 200 shipbuilding and repair businesses from all over the world participate at Posidonia 2016 which concludes today.