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Searching For Petrochemical Shipping Solutions In The Mideast Gulf Region

Last week, petrochemical companies convened to seek out ways to reduce shipping and logistic costs in the Mideast. The need is particularly urgent according to organizers of the MariChem Middle East 2005 conference held in Doha, Qatar April 24-26, as the Gulf region is set to become one of the largest users of sea transport, logistics services, and cargo-handling facilities as exports soar to 80% of output. By 2007, exports by chemical tankers are projected to top 28 million tons with a further 17 million tons in container shipments, a 40% growth over 2003.

The Gulf region, expanding very quickly in petrochemical-related production, has relatively low feedstock costs, but is hampered by proportionately higher delivery charges. Delivery accounts for 39% of costs for plastics producers in the Gulf, its largest overhead component apart from raw materials.

Hamad Rashid Al-Mohannadi, conference chairman and general manager of the Qatar Petrochemical Company (QAPCO) hopes the discussions at MariChem will bring about some solutions. "Although the immediate beneficiaries of MariChem action plans will be petrochemical suppliers, shipping and logistics supply-chain providers, and allied services, all industrial sectors that depend on import and export channels will benefit from the resulting improvements in the logistics supply-chain," he explained.

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