Local News Story
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Coronavirus disrupts major events

Thursday, 5 March 2020 ( #964 )
LogiMAT 2017 attracted more than 50,000 visitors
LogiMAT 2017 attracted more than 50,000 visitors
Next week's LogiMAT exhibition in Stuttgart has been cancelled by German officials in the face of an increased risk of coronavirus. According to organisers, the infection has reached the Stuttgart region, prompting the Office of Public Order in Leinfelden-Echterdingen, acting on the urgent recommendation of the responsible Office of Public Health for the region of Esslingen, to instruct organisers to cancel. "This is bitter, given the overwhelming importance of LogiMAT Stuttgart for the global intralogistics industry," says Christoph Huss, managing partner of organiser EUROEXPO. "The cancellation of LogiMAT 2020 for external, unforeseeable circumstances is unprecedented in the event's 18-year history. Despite tremendous efforts working with Messe Stuttgart, we were unable to find a later date to host the event in 2020, so it is with great regret that we have decided to cancel LogiMAT 2020," he says, noting that the event will return to Stuttgart from March 9 to 11, 2021. Wednesday's cancellation came after a number of high-profile exhibitors pulled out, starting on Tuesday with Jungheinrich, which said the health of customers and employees has absolute priority for the company. "It is therefore with a heavy heart that we have decided not to participate in LogiMAT this year," said Jungheinrich board member for sales Christian Erlach. "We thank the EUROEXPO and all visitors for their understanding. LogiMAT is the most important intralogistics fair of the year for Jungheinrich. With this in mind, we look forward to seeing you again in Stuttgart in 2021." Soon after Jungheinrich, Linde pulled the plug, and others soon followed. Across the Atlantic, KION North America has cancelled its participation in MODEX 2020, also because of health and safety concerns. "Given the increasing spread of the coronavirus worldwide and now also in various states throughout the United States, including Georgia, KION North America has decided not to send employees to participate in the MODEX 2020 trade show," the company says in a statement. KION North America and its sister company Dematic will be presenting the latest news, intelligent solutions, and high-performance products to customers via digital channels and other industry meetings throughout the year. "At a large event, such as MODEX, with many visitors from throughout the United States and abroad, there is no guarantee that a spread of the coronavirus can be prevented," says Max Heller, CEO of KION North America. "KION North America prides itself on the health and safety of its employees and its customers, and for this reason, we have decided not to send our employees, but we plan to have a presence at the show still." As we finalised this newsletter, MODEX was still scheduled to proceed, with event producer MHI stressing that the safety and security of exhibitors and attendees is its paramount consideration. "We are closely monitoring the situation regarding COVID-19/Coronavirus and are following protocols that are provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)." "MODEX will be held as scheduled, March 9-12," says George W. Prest, MHI CEO. "In preparation for this event, MHI is working with local agencies, hotels, airports and the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) to ensure your health and safety while visiting MODEX." Meanwhile, Hannover Messe 2020, which we previewed last week, has been postponed to the week of 13 to 17 July, also as a direct result of coronavirus. "The Hannover Region Health Authority had strongly recommended that Deutsche Messe follow the advice of the Robert Koch Institute, which includes comprehensive measures to safeguard health when hosting major events. For instance, fever measuring stations at all entrances and not allowing people from risk areas or those who have had contact with people from risk areas to enter the exhibition centre. This would have entailed a comprehensive evaluation of all trade fair participants - from exhibitors and visitors to service providers, exhibit builders and catering companies," organisers say in a statement. "Deutsche Messe is unable to implement the proposed measures. In addition, their implementation would impair the staging of the event to such an extent that the event would not fulfill its purpose or would do so only with considerable restrictions for exhibitors and visitors. "With the July date, we offer our exhibitors the earliest possible time slot to present their innovations to a global audience and to initiate business," says Jochen Köckler, chairman of the board of management of Deutsche Messe AG. "In view of the global economic challenges triggered by the coronavirus in the first half of the year, the new date offers great opportunities. Thus, the world's most important industrial trade fair can provide important impetus for the global economy at an early stage." The postponement of Hannover Messe also impacts on the presentation ceremony for the IFOY Awards. This will now be held on Monday, 13 July 2020, starting at 6 pm. Major trade shows and professional conferences, including the Geneva Car Show and the giant American Physical Society (APS) March meeting, have been cancelled and many others have been postponed. This year's TOC Asia event, scheduled to take place in Singapore on 21st and 22nd April as part of Singapore Maritime Week, is the latest casualty, with organisers announcing the event has been cancelled. Material Handling & Logistics Conference Europe 2020, scheduled to run just before LogiMAT in Stuttgart, has also been postponed, with organisers trying to secure a new date in the second half of the year.
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