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Posidonia 2020 cancelled

Greek mega-event cites increasing coronavirus cases in certain countries and lingering uncertainty due to pandemic as it shelves biennial exhibition until June 2022

The organisers say the ‘difficult decision’ was reached following talks with exhibitors and the shipping community after assessing the current state of the health crisis around the world

POSIDONIA, the biennial international exhibition that draws the world’s maritime industries to Greece, has been cancelled this year after weeks of soul-searching by organisers.

The decision was taken over the weekend and was arrived at “following close consultation with many exhibitors and with our shipping community stakeholders, after assessing the current state of Covid-19 in countries around the world,” the organisers said in a statement. It mean the next event will be held in 2022.

“The worrying increase of cases in certain jurisdictions and the inability to predict reliably where the pandemic will take us in the months ahead, compounds the uncertainty that now prevails, imposing upon us circumstances that are beyond our control,’’ the statement said.

“Furthermore, the shipment of exhibits and the complexities of international travel which are constantly being re-evaluated as events develop, pose major challenges and practical restrictions to our international exhibitors and visitors, with the distinct possibility that many will not be able to visit Greece. Without them Posidonia would not be the same.’’

Earlier Lloyd’s List had broken the news of the event’s cancellation, noting that the organisers were expected to brief as many key supporters and national exhibitor liaisons as possible before going public.

Organising company Posidonia Exhibitions cited a “worrying increase of cases in certain jurisdictions and the inability to predict reliably where the pandemic will take us in the months ahead”.

It said that transporting exhibits and international travel complexities under the current circumstances would impede many international exhibitors and visitors and “without them Posidonia would not be the same”.

The decision comes as many countries continue to struggle to bring the coronavirus epidemic under control and as fears persist of a “second wave” of infections.

Originally, Posidonia 2020 was scheduled to take place in its usual spot of the first week of June, but had been postponed to the second half of October.

Just 10 days ago the organisers were “cautiously” hopeful that the event might yet proceed, but could not say for certain given the “rollercoaster” of news and reaction stemming from the global pandemic.

A package of health and safety measures that in in some areas exceeded already stringent government regulations had already been introduced to help manage the risk as well as possible.

These included “Covid-shield” certification for the venue, wider corridors between exhibitors’ stands as well as measures to avoid crowding and ensure an even distribution of visitors throughout the week.

Posidonia is widely seen as providing an unparalleled opportunity for “speed-dating” between international maritime builders, manufacturers and services on the one hand and on the other a Greek shipping community that is considered the world’s biggest buyer of their products.

The decision will come as a blow to the already battered Greek tourism sector with hotels, taxis and caterers among the many interests that were willing the exhibition to take place.

Greece itself has garnered praise for the decisive and effective way that its government has managed to control the spread of the virus and, at the time of writing, is continuing to report relatively modest numbers of cases despite moves to open up to foreign tourists again.

But many countries are continuing to have to enforce strict measures to stem the spread of the virus.

Increasingly that has left many of the event’s key international exhibitors potentially facing travel restrictions, quarantines on return to their country of origin, and logistical headaches for delegations — if allowed to travel.

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