The International Exhibition Logistics Association (IELA) is coming together for its annual general assembly and 31st congress from 25 to 28 June, which will be followed by its partnering event.
This year’s slogan is “Inspire Business – Welcome Tomorrow”. Over 230 members will be coming to Dublin. That will make the congress in the Irish capital the largest in the history of the IELA. The next decade in the exhibition logistics association’s history will be starting not just with a record number of delegates; the association’s membership is also growing. Over ten new members have joined the IELA since it celebrated its 30-year anniversary last year in Singapore. Five more countries are now represented in the association: Estonia, Iran, Lithuania, Peru and Saudi Arabia.
A number of highlights have been announced for the upcoming congress in Dublin. There will be two motivational presentations: “How do we navigate through challenges?” and “Developing the strategic horizons to shape markets to your advantage”. The IELA Forum, which will take the form of a panel discussion, will be devoted to health and safety, sometimes referred to as operations health and safety (OH&S), an issue of great relevance in the trade fair industry. The personal risks incurred by staff in the course of their activities around the globe are also included in this. All involved in the industry can be affected: venues, organisers, freight forwarders, stand construction companies and exhibitors. It is up to all of them to look for the best safety solutions and share their findings, emphasises the IELA.
What is needed are prudent, pre-emptive measures to protect staff. The 2016 IELA Forum sees itself as a platform for brainstorming and enhancing global health, safety and security standards in the trade fair industry. Representatives of well-known organisations and companies will be contributing their insights: Cathy Breden and Sonia Thomas of the international trade fair associations IAEE and UFI and Bruno Beißner of the International Federation of Exhibition and Event Services (IFES). Simon Garrett, who works for the safety and security consulting firm X-Venture Global Risk Solutions, is also taking part. The IELA Forum has emerged out of the “Building the Bridge” initiative, which was launched in 2014 in order to bring together all the various players in the trade fair industry. The aim is to assess and strengthen existing and potential partnerships between all involved in the industry.
The annual gala dinner is also taking place in Dublin, together with an award ceremony to honour the best on-site and export agents. The congress will be followed immediately by the 5th IELA partnering event from 28 to 30 June. This networking event aimed at both members and non-members. Around 400 people from over 50 countries will be attending, far exceeding initial expectations. 130 attendees will be there for the first time, whereas for others it will be their fifth partnering event. On the second evening, they will be spending a very special, very Irish event at the Guinness Storehouse (www.iela-events.com).
Dublin is also associated with the EU’s agreement on dealing with political refugees arriving in Europe. The most important rule is that the first EU country asylum seekers enters is the one where they have to apply for asylum. However, the Dublin Regulation has now in effect been suspended. And the borderless Schengen area is also essentially a thing of the past. The millions of refugees streaming into Europe have indirectly brought an end to full freedom of movement for people and goods. “The entire transport industry is suffering under the refugee situation at borders, which is in some cases chaotic,” observes Christiane Roelfs, managing director of Bielefeld-based exhibition freight forwarder Fairexpress. “This results in longer waiting times at borders and thus also to higher costs in the long term.” Particularly at the Eurotunnel between France and England, lorry drivers are currently having to be very patient. “But it’s the same on the Hungarian, Austrian, Serbian and Romanian borders,” adds Roelfs. It is not just that waiting times at border control points are now significantly longer. As she points out, increasing numbers of refugees are trying to jump onto lorries or hide in the back. In this way they hope to get across borders undetected. But it can result in damage to the vehicles and their loads. “The situation also has an impact on freight forwarding within Europe for exhibitions, of course,” reports Roelfs. “In any case, it is now always advisable to plan in some extra time for this,” she advises. “We can only hope that the governments of the European Union will find humane, viable solutions quickly.” Otherwise, Fairexpress currently sees no significant changes in the international exhibition business (www.fairexpress.de).
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