The transport logistic and air cargo trade show in Miami opens its doors on 08NOV2022, so in about seven weeks. In addition to thematic highlights, networking is the top priority after the pandemic faded out. We spoke with TIACA Chairman, Steven Polmans (SP), and Dr. Robert Schönberger (RS), head of transport logistic exhibitions of Messe München, about the forthcoming industrial trade show, the expectations of the organizers, and the reactions shown by the market so far.
CFG: Steven, how is the interest of exhibitors and visitors from today's perspective?
SP: It started a bit slower than we were used to before Covid. But, at the moment, both the numbers of confirmed exhibitors and registered visitors are exceeding our expectations. And new ones are still coming in. So, that looks very promising and makes us confident that we will be able to organize a great event.
CFG: Robert, based on the current figures: How many exhibitors and visitors do you forecast for the three-day trade show?
RS: As Steven said, we went on sale just before another Covid wave started rolling in. We are all the more pleased now that the added value of live events and trade fairs has been clearly recognized. In Miami, in November, we expect over 200 exhibitors and certainly 5,000 attendees.
CFG: How has the coordination of the event between TIACA and Messe München worked out so far? After all, it’s a fairly new partnership.
SP: The initial deal was signed already some years ago, and normally we would have already had a joint event. So, we had a very long time working together before really getting into more concrete actions. The first event was the one earlier this year, in San Francisco, which was a good exercise already. Both teams worked intensively together, had good discussions and many brainstorms on the Air Cargo Forum, along with very regular updates and alignments on responsibilities and things to be done. One thing always in mind: this has to be a great event for all participants!
CFG: All transportation sectors are represented in MIA: Based on current registration figures, what role will the air cargo industry play in MIA?
RS: The Miami show is the must-attend event this year for the air cargo community: It´s THE air cargo forum. We were actually planning to develop the show into a multimodal event at a later date, but customers from the shipping, road, and rail sectors have told us that Miami is interesting as a location, but that we need to do a real "transport logistic" for them. That is why we are already combining transport logistic Americas & air cargo forum Miami for the first time. The split is about 70% air cargo and 30% other modes. For the future, we expect a further strengthening of both sectors, lifting the event to an even higher level.
CFG: What are the air freight highlights offered to the attendees, resulting in valuable takeaways, besides networking and bilateral meetings?
SP: The main aim of the exhibition is networking, something we should not forget, and which was a main reaction following our last event in Toronto. Besides that, we will have a top-class conference program with topics such as sustainability and our Blue Skies program. In addition, other partners and associations - including CargoForwarder Global - will organize program sessions and thus contribute to a varied exchange. Also, our Hall of Fame and our innovation awards will be on the agenda.
On the floor, the start-hub logistics will be in Miami for the first time; a special area for startups, giving them a great entry into the air cargo industry and, at the same time, hopefully inspiring many visitors and exhibitors with what these companies are doing.
CFG: TIACA will take the audience through various pioneering sustainability initiatives “from Net Zero to Blue Sky”. Can you deliver some insights why attendees shouldn’t miss this program offering?
SP: Despite all crises we faced in the past years and up to today, it is a topic that remains very high on the agenda and is here to stay. The sooner we, as an industry, and as individual companies, face the reality and embrace this topic, the sooner and the easier we will be able to adapt. Our program gives companies the opportunity to step in and get guidance on what they can do and should do, without reinventing everything themselves.
CFG: On the financial side: do you expect a surplus for Messe München through sponsorship, the marketing of exhibition space and admission fees, or do you possibly pay on top at the end
of the day?
RS: A new trade show is like a product innovation. At a launch, short-term financial success is not the immediate priority. For us, it is important to offer the customers, i.e. exhibitors and visitors, a relevant event for the industry.
CFG: And finally: Will MIA be a flash in the pan or do Messe München and TIACA plan to jointly organize comparable events in the future?
RS: When we leave Miami again after the exhibition, we want to look back and use what we have achieved as a platform to further consolidate the vision of establishing Florida as a permanent location for a trade show. This project is designed for the long term.
SP: I can only agree with what Robert said. A good event was the main focus to re-establish trust in TIACA as an organization. During our transition a few years ago, it was one of our main objectives to become less financially dependent on our ACF.
We started this journey some years ago with a clear, long-term intention, but at the same time not to commit to each other what we cannot deliver or achieve. We have now accomplished almost two events, and, at the moment, all our time and energy go into the event in Miami. Once done, we will stick our heads together to evaluate the cooperation and look forward by focusing on future projects. No doubt there will be an ACF in 2024 again, and if we believe that we can jointly do this in the best possible way and find an agreement on how to do this, why change a winning team? And even if we jointly choose to go different paths, we will still work together on several events and initiatives as the mutual respect during our collaboration has only gotten bigger. But as I said: those are considerations will come after the MIA event.
CFG: Robert, any objections?
RS: No, I fully agree with Steven’s words. As Messe München, we will look very closely at what is the best way forward for us. The American market is not only highly interesting for the logistics industry, but also for the trade fair industry. I am therefore very positive that we will remain active in the USA and will continue to expand our network. Together with TIACA, we will find the best possible solution to make an attractive offer to the community. There will be an ACF and, also, a TLA 2024.
CFG: Gentlemen, thank you for the insights and good fortune for your MIA project.
Interview: Heiner Siegmund
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