A warm welcome to our special 10th Anniversary Kingsman Dubai Sugar Conference website.
When we held our first sugar conference in Dubai in 2003 around 50 people attended. What started as a small event has developed into a premier global event for the sugar industry and we are proud that we now have around 650 representatives from more than 45 countries attending each year.
The impetus for the initial conference evolved from discussions with Al Khaleej Sugar, Managing Director, Jamal Al Ghurair. Our two companies shared a vision of an international sugar conference with Dubai as its hub: with the support of the global industry we have succeeded together.
The sugar market today is a very different place than 10 years ago. Over the past 10 years world consumption has grown by around 35 mln mt, a percentage increase of around 25 per cent. This increased demand has been largely fed by an increase in production of 15 mln mt from Cs Brazil, 11 mln mt from India, 4.5 mln mt from Thailand, 3 mln mt from China and 2.0 mln mt from Pakistan. All of the growth has been in cane production; global beet production is pretty much unchanged from where it was 10 years ago.
It is not just the size of the industry that has expanded; the structure of the industry has changed almost beyond recognition. Technology has enabled a wider and faster spread of information and this has reduced the power of the traditional trading houses. In search of a margin many trade houses have moved up and down the supply chain with some major investment in production, particularly in Brazil, but also in refining and distribution.
At the same time producers have moved down the supply chain, dealing directly with end-users. In most cases now it is no longer relevant to make a distinction between producers, traders, refiners, importers and distributors. Everyone pretty much does everything.
But the most striking change to the structure of the world sugar trade has been the growth in the raw sugar refining sector, both at end-destination and "standalone". Al Khaleej Sugar was the first to recognise the potential of the refinery model and Savola was quick to realise its benefits. Now it seems that refineries are pushing up like mushrooms with nine new ones opening in 2013 alone. Every year analysts warn that the market is moving into over-capacity; so far at least that has not happened.
The annual Dubai Sugar Conference has been at the cutting edge of these changes, giving guests a forum to discuss and develop new ideas, helping them to recognise evolving trends and facilitating networking.
Some of our guests have attended all of our Dubai conferences; each year they tell us that the event has helped them grow their business by expanding their networks and exchanging ideas. We hope and expect that our 10th Anniversary event will be no different. As one of our regular attendees told us, "if you are in the sugar business, Dubai is the not-to-miss event". If you haven't attended our event before we encourage you to give it a try. If you attend regularly, we welcome you back!
Our ambition is for the 10th Anniversary event to be the best ever. As always, our goal is to give each person attending an overview on the state of our industry as well as detailed analysis of what the future holds. We hope that it will once again be an opportunity to again meet old friends and to make new ones, to look back on what has been achieved and to open up to new ideas and developments globally for the future.
I look forward to seeing you there