Events will go ahead despite virus fears

Local News
- 20 Feb 2020 ( #962 )
3 min read
Fewer Chinese exhibitors are expected at LogiMAT 2020
Fewer Chinese exhibitors are expected at LogiMAT 2020
Exclusive report
Visitors to the upcoming materials handling trade shows can expect to see fewer Chinese exhibitors and visitors.

A number of Chinese exhibitors who were meant to participate at next month's LogiMAT show in Stuttgart have taken up the organiser's offer of penalty-free cancellations.

Peter Kazander, CEO of LogiMAT organiser Euroexpo, tells Forkliftaction News he has had many questions about Coronavirus, and stresses that "the safety and health of our visitors, exhibitors and staff is, of course, our priority".

He stresses that few cases of the illness have been seen in Europe to date, but nonetheless, his organisation is taking the issue seriously "and will take all necessary and/or recommended measures in close coordination with the responsible authorities".

"As people from some regions of China cannot or do not want to travel freely now, we have already given our Chinese exhibitors an individual opportunity to exceptionally cancel their participation in LogiMAT 2020," he says.

Similarly, organisers of the MODEX event at the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) will offer any exhibitors not able to participate due to Coronavirus fears the option of deferring until the 2021 ProMat show. For those keen not to miss out, MHI is also offering on-site support for participation in MODEX.

"MHI will hire a host for each booth," says MHI vice president, marketing and communications, Carol Miller. The hosts will capture the lead data of all attendees that visit the booth. In addition, MHI will produce signage in each booth with contact info and product details and provide a draped table with fact sheets with company information for each booth."

Miller explains that organisers are in constant communication with each of their Chinese exhibitors. "Approximately one-third of the Chinese-based exhibitors will be participating through US-based colleagues, partners or affiliates."

Prior to the health scare, MODEX had 58 Chinese companies among its exhibitors. A third will be there as planned because they are represented by their US-based partners. "The remainder will work with us on one of the two options. We have confirmed that almost all Chinese exhibitors that cannot participate in MODEX will defer to ProMat 2021," she says.

"The safety and security of our exhibitors and attendees is our paramount consideration," Miller adds. "MHI is closely monitoring the Coronavirus situation and following guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)."

In similar vein, LogiMAT's Kazander also vows to "take all necessary measures at the exhibition centre, together with the Landesmesse Stuttgart, which goes far beyond the installation of many disinfection dispensers".

The cleaning and disinfection of the site, especially the toilet facilities, handrails, elevators and (door) handles, will be carried out intensively, he adds.

Miller says MHI is in daily contact with the GWCC which is working with both the GA Department of Public Health and the Fulton County Board of Health to gain insight into the spread of the Coronavirus, health surveillance/screening efforts at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, and updated data on possible impacts to the United States and Georgia.

While the Hannover Messe show, with its significant materials handling component, is still several weeks away, event spokeswoman Brigitte Mahnken-Brandhorst stresses that organisers are closely monitoring the situation. A staff member has been assigned to keep up to date with the virus and its status. She stresses, however, that exhibitor, visitor and staff safety remains a Messe priority.

A Messe statement notes that "there is no risk to events on the Deutsche Messe exhibition grounds. All trade fairs in Hannover will take place as planned".

The statement points out that Messe is in constant and close contact with the responsible health authorities. Recommendations and instructions from the authorities are implemented.
"According to the assessment of the Robert Koch Institute and the Hannover Region Health Department responsible for Deutsche Messe, the risk of infection in Germany is very low," it concludes.

Meanwhile, the organisers of Intermodal Asia have announced the event has been postponed due to the virus crisis. Initially scheduled for March 17-19 in Shanghai, the event will now be held on 14-16 July.
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