Trade fair logistics: ILEA to meet up in Dublin

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. 

Largest congress in the association’s history: IELA chairman Christoph Rauch (BTG Messe-Spedition). (Photo: IELA)
Largest congress in the association’s history: IELA chairman Christoph Rauch (BTG Messe-Spedition). (Photo: IELA)

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.

Over 230 IELA members want to take part in the Dublin event. (Photo: IELA)
Over 230 IELA members want to take part in the Dublin event. (Photo: 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 (


Refugees put the brakes on the transport industry

Fairexpress (f.l.): Farah Elouahabi, Ulrike Klack, Christiane Roelfs, Jörg Reinert and Natascha Hönig. (Photo: Fairexpress)
Fairexpress (f.l.): Farah Elouahabi, Ulrike Klack, Christiane Roelfs, Jörg Reinert and Natascha Hönig. (Photo: Fairexpress)

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 (

Author: Peter Borstel

This article was published in TFI issue 3-4/2016


Share in Facebook, Twitter or Google+:

Twitter aktivieren
Google+ aktivieren

TFI - Trade Fairs International - The International Trade Fair Magazine.

© 2006 - 2023 by TFI-Verlagsgesellschaft mbH. All rights reserved. TFI-Verlagsgesellschaft mbH shall accept no responsibility for the contents of external links and other contents.



  • How can networking be made to work at online events?

    How can networking be made to work at online events?

    Networking typically happens at real, in-person events. But it’s also possible to do it online; it just works a little differently. There are various options available to organisers.

  • How can exhibitors stand out at trade fairs?

    How can exhibitors stand out at trade fairs?

    New products and a well-conceived stand design are not the only drivers for a successful presence. Many other factors are also important, but trade fair planners often lose sight of them.

  • How can industry decision-makers be reached online?

    How can industry decision-makers be reached online?

    Trade fairs and trade fair companies need to constantly further develop, become more agile and flexible and offer services all year round. New, digital offerings are very important here. With its TrustedTargeting technology, Messe München offers its customers access to leading business-to-business decision-makers on the Internet.