Leading figures from the global container and intermodal industry gathered in Hamburg, home of Europe’s second largest port, last week for the 33rd Intermodal, the world’s largest container event. The highly successful event took place at the Hamburg Messe, from 2 – 4 December, with thousands of visitors attending in order to discover new ways to increase the profitability of their business operations.
The well-attended conference and exhibition was officially opened with an address by the Senator of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, Axel Gedaschko, on 2 December 2008.
Key speakers shine at conference
It is now, more important than ever before, for industry leaders to share ideas and discuss challenges and the Intermodal conference offered the perfect setting for this with its timely over-riding theme of “Harnessing the Green Dividend”. The conference opened with a keynote speech by Chris Bourne, Executive Director, European Liner Affairs Association, on coping with the new global challenges.
Involving over 30 top-level speakers, this year’s conference featured presentations from industry experts including Peter Husted of LEGO Systems, Heinrich Kerstens, Managing Director of Contargo, Jon Gjemble, Senior Logistic Advisor at Norse Skog and Peter Livey, Head of Logistics, Hyundai Merchant Marine (Europe).
There was a strong focus on the current global economic conditions at the Intermodal 2008 conference and many speaker presentations discussed the immediate, as well as predicted longer-term affects on the industry. Peter Husted for example emphasised how supply collaboration is absolutely key in the current financial climate. In his “Developing an intermodal road map for supply chain collaboration” address, Mr Husted stated that shippers need to look at pooling their resources and putting transport sharing back on the agenda, which will allow container carriers and intermodal operators to improve their asset utilisation.
On the final morning of the conference, a free session focussed purely on Chemical Transport and Tankcontainer Logistics. Chaired by Rainer Brussen of Brussen Consulting, the conference explored the logistics of sea and land transports of chemical cargo, including safety and security of hazardous and non-hazardous cargo. Speakers such as Elmar Ockenfels, Manager Strategic Business Development at Bayer Leverkusen, Dirk Vande Velde, Corporate Manager MSC Chemical Transports and Dietrich Dabels from the German Shipowners’ Association shared their expertise and knowledge with the delegates.
Gordon Kirk, Event Director of Intermodal, commented: “The conference programme at this year’s Intermodal event was hugely popular. Issues currently affecting the industry, from logistical topics such the safety and security of hazardous cargo, through to the shift of economic and political power from Europe to Asia, were addressed by top-level speakers, providing a vital platform for speakers and delegates to share views, experiences and exchange ideas.”
Conference delegate, Eric Deans, Registrar General for the Maritime Authority of Jamaica, added: “The conference at Intermodal 2008 was very impressive. The speakers were extremely interesting, showed great knowledge of the industry and offered an excellent perspective on the future of the intermodal industry. The topics discussed at the conference were relevant to the current time and gave a good insight into opportunities for the future. What’s more, the event as a whole is a great place to network and meet new contacts from around the world.”
Efficient business solutions stand out at exhibition
Companies have to stay competitive in this uncertain economic climate and finding the best equipment and solutions for their businesses were a key reason for many industry executives to visit this year’s popular Intermodal exhibition.
With more than 70 exhibitors taking to the floor this year, executives from across the globe were quick to gather in Hamburg to browse a whole host of new products and services that were on show. With all the leading companies in the container industry present, Intermodal 2008 really was the container exhibition of 2008. Exhibitors this year included: Daikin Industries, CIMC Group, Florens Container Services, TAL International Container Corporation, Thermo King and Carrier Transicold.
Gordon Kirk, added: “We have already taken significant re-bookings for next year’s Intermodal which, in the current economic climate, shows the power of the event. Despite the present state of the economy, visitor numbers to this year’s Intermodal show that the industry is well-placed to hold out in the global slowdown and businesses are looking for opportunities to grow over the next year. Without doubt, exhibitions are one of the most efficient and cost effective ways of meeting new business contacts and making real sales.”
Trans-Rak International was one exhibitor who took advantage of the Container Display Zone on the exhibition floor, showcasing their latest Car-in-a-Box solution. Paul Donaldson, Managing Director, commented: “Being at Intermodal this year allowed us to visually demonstrate our product to potential clients, having an actual container box on the floor was invaluable. The container display area was a great way for us to show potential clients exactly how our product works and the benefits to them. The exhibition attracts all the main people in the industry and through exhibiting at the show we are expecting some exciting calls in the new year.”
Richard Barreau, Deputy Managing Director at Gold Container, added: “This year’s event has been well attended by the right people in the industry. We get to see the leading figures in the industry under one roof which makes the show a good place to meet new clients and see existing customers. For me, the best part of the event is the calibre of visitors that attend the show.”
Next year’s integrated event will take place in November in the glorious surroundings of Valencia – the biggest port on the Mediterranean coast. The three ports comprising Valenciaport -Valencia, Sagunto and Gandia – are located on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, along an 80 km stretch of Spain’s eastern coastline. This area, forming part of the Valencian Community, has experienced one of the highest growth rates in the European Union in recent years.