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Bauma goes on despite airspace disruption

Thursday, 29 Apr 2010 ( #459 ) - Munich, Germany
News Story
Claudia Stadler
About 50 overseas exhibitors were prevented from participating in Bauma 2010 by the volcanic ash-induced ban on air travel in Europe last week.

However, Bauma organiser Messe München International (MMI) and a number of exhibitors told News that the show was an overall success and that the construction machinery industry is picking up after the impact of the global financial crisis.

"The mood in the industry shows that in Europe the bottom of the cycle is now behind us. Confidence has returned. Of course at the start of the fair, the exhibitors felt the lack of many customers from Asia and America but in the second half, this improved considerably," says Ralf Wezel, secretary-general of the Committee for European Construction Equipment.

Wezel praises MMI’s crisis management in the days impacted by the airspace disruptions as "outstanding".

Claudia Stadler, MMI’s communications manager, says the organiser took emergency measures to cope with the different situations that arose. For example, HE Kamal Nath, the Indian Minister for Road Transport and Highways, was unable to fly to Munich and was replaced at the opening ceremony by the Indian Ambassador in Berlin, Sudhir Vyas.

Also, an "Indian special" in the Bauma forum, organised with VDMA, German’s engineering federation, was planned for the first two days of the show. Some of the activities, Stadler says, were cancelled or re-staffed as Indian keynote speakers affected by the air travel ban could not attend.

"[However], the rest of the country specials were held as previously planned," she says.

Megan Tanel, Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) vice president of exhibitions and events, says the travel disruptions "substantially" affected the association which was co-organiser of Bauma’s North American pavilion.

"AEM’s US-based staff could not make it to the show but the pavilion was ‘open for business’ … thanks to the tremendous efforts of our partners. With pavilion staff onsite helping connect exhibitors with customers and AEM staff in Milwaukee, we were able to provide co-ordination and assistance to pavilion exhibitors whether they were able to travel to the show or not."

Tanel says AEM is thankful to its partners, including its co-organiser, selling partners, stand builder, freight forwarder and interpreters, and MMI, for enabling it to participate despite the absence of key American staff.

"For our exhibitors who could not make it to Bauma, MMI organised a trained staff (member) in each unoccupied  stand to collect leads and offer answers to basic questions," she explains.

Virtual media also proved useful for AEM’s communications as the association cancelled "numerous important meetings" and its press conference. Tanel says AEM hopes to meet the customers it missed at upcoming events like Bauma China 2010, Bc India 2011, CONEXPO Russia 2010 and CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2011.

Daniel Vanhemelrijck, sales manager of Doosan Infracore’s forklift division, says the head of his division, CW Park, had arranged meetings with German dealers at Bauma but his flight from Seoul to Frankfurt was scrapped. Instead, Tom Yoon, managing director of Doosan Infracore Belgium, and his colleague, head of sales Harry Chung, took a 10-hour drive over 750km from Brussels to Munich to keep the company’s appointments.

About 3,150 registered exhibitors from 53 countries attended the show. MMI reports that halfway through the fair, exhibitors were reporting more sales than they had expected.

"The good old times are coming back. The figures for sales taken at the fair far exceed our expectations. We reckon we will be able to match the volume we took at the Bauma in 2007," says Michael Heidemann, CEO of Zeppelin Baumaschinen GmbH, Germany.

"We had a lot of new business opportunities, some of which already resulted in unexpected conclusions of sale," says Michikazu Okada, vice president of Hitachi Sumitomo Industries Construction Crane Co Ltd, Japan.

Tanja Schneider, from Grammer AG, says the off-road seat manufacturer was "very happy" with visitor attendance at its stand and the number of customer meetings that took place during the show.

According to a survey of exhibitors by TNS Infratest, almost half the exhibitors are expecting the economic situation to improve following a year of crisis in 2009.

MMI says the general economic situation ahead of Bauma and the air travel ban impacted on visitor numbers. Over 415,000 people from about 200 countries attended the show, 17% lower than in Bauma 2007. Of that number, 65% of the visitors were from Germany. The show’s 555,000 sqms (5,973,970 sqft) was fully booked and registered exhibitor numbers from China, India and Turkey were particularly stronger than in 2007.

The 30th Bauma will take place from 15-21 April 2013 in Munich. MMI organises around 40 trade fairs for capital and consumer goods, and high-tech industries. It has six subsidiaries in Europe and Asia.
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