Dubai, UAE: Materials Handling Middle East 2015 concluded in Dubai yesterday (16 September), with the double-digit growth in both visitors and exhibition space firmly cementing its position as the must-attend trade show for the regional logistics, warehousing, supply chain management, freight and cargo industries.
The biennial three-day event attracted 4,386 trade visitors from 55 countries, 30 per cent more than its previous edition in 2013, while 129 exhibitors from 21 countries covered 15 per cent more space at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The diversity, quality, and innovation of products on show was evident, as the world’s most trusted manufacturers showcased their latest wares, from Swisslog’s popular AutoStore automated storage and order picking system, to Korean manufacturer Doosan’s latest range of electric forklifts and heavy duty diesel forklifts.
Now in its 8th edition, Materials Handling Middle East 2015 provided a clear snapshot of the Gulf economy’s inherent strength, where diverse industries such as Oil & Gas, automotive, manufacturing, and retail are the driving force of region’s materials handling sector.
Ahmed Pauwels CEO of Messe Frankfurt Middle East, organiser of Materials Handling Middle East, said: “While some Gulf industries such as Oil & Gas remain steady, others such as retail, FMCG, and manufacturing are surging ahead, buoyed by infrastructure investments and growing populations.
“These industries require optimal materials handling and logistics solutions as throughput and scale increase. So while some sectors might have slower growth presently, others are gaining momentum and picking up the slack, and it’s estimated the Gulf’s materials handling equipment market will be worth US$5 billion by 2020, up from US$3.8 billion in 2014.”
Added Pauwels: “This explains the impressive growth at Materials Handling Middle East 2015, while the other reason is due to the vast range of solutions on offer, from automated storage and picking solutions, to pallets, racking, cranes, and packaging equipment.”
More than 250 brands were on show at Materials Handling Middle East 2015, including six of the world’s top 20 materials handling systems suppliers. Daifuku from Japan, currently the world’s largest supplier, showcased its Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS), commonly used by automotive and retail giants such as IKEA, Nike, and Toyota.
Andrey Kras, Account Manager at Daifuku’s International Business Department, said the company is looking to establish an office in the Middle East to cater to growing interest in the region for its automated warehousing solutions.
“Prior to 2014 we would receive maybe one or two enquiries per year from the Middle East, and this maybe grew to between 7-10 enquires last year,” said Kras. “In 2015, we’ve had 20 so far, so the growth is huge, and these are high value leads.
“To my surprise, auto parts storage is a big market here, and whoever has a warehouse is becoming aware of ASRS; they’re putting in the back of their minds that whenever they’re ready, they will buy this, so we need to be here to capitalise on this opportunity.”
In addition to global players such as Germany’s SSI Schäfer, Karcher, and Kardex Remstar, Materials Handling Middle East also had strong representation from UAE-based distributors including Kanoo Group, Al Futtaim Motors, General Navigation and Commerce Company (GENAVCO), SPAN Trading, Al Futtaim Auto & Machinery Company (FAMCO), and Acme Industrial Hardware.Multi Mech Heavy Equipment used the annual showpiece event to promote its distribution partnership with Doosan Materials Handling in the UAE, extending their existing agreement in the other GCC markets of Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar.
Rajesh Gopinath, Chairman of Multi Mech Heavy Equipment, commented: “In one month we will be the exclusive distributor in the UAE for Doosan, and we’re targeting logistics companies, shipping, and aluminium smelters here in the UAE. We have other materials handling equipment in our portfolio but this year we only wanted to focus on our new partnership with Doosan.”
“We’ve had plenty of prospective clients at Materials Handling Middle East, from cable manufacturing to Oil & Gas manufacturing. We would expect about a quarter of these to convert into real business,” added Gopinath.
GENAVCO, the UAE distributor for major forklift brands such as Crown, JLG, Weiro, and Flexi, was a regular exhibitor pleased with the outcome of Materials Handling Middle East 2015. Isam Abu Naba’h, President of GENAVCO, said the show wasn’t just about meeting clients and selling products.
“With so much to offer in the market, it’s important for clients to have the right solutions; they have the right to the best services with the highest quality safety standards at a reasonable price,” said Naba’h.
“Materials Handling Middle East provides them the ideal opportunity to see all these solutions under one roof, where usually it would take a lot of time to shop around. With new projects and warehouses coming up, clients need expert advice, and by visiting Materials Handling Middle East, they have a much clearer idea of what their requirements are.”
These sentiments were shared by Rene Wenger, Core Facilities and ICT Manager at Dubai-based Masaood John Brown (MJB) Gas Turbine Services, one of the world’s largest providers of industrial turbine maintenance solutions.
Wenger was visiting Materials Handling Middle East 2015 to source warehousing equipment for MJB’s planned 30,000sqm Dubai South facility that will be operational by 2017.
“We’re in the planning stage of our new facility, so now was the perfect time to visit Materials Handling Middle East,” said Wenger. “It gave us a fantastic overview of what we needed, from shelving and forklifts, to floor grinders and packaging materials, and we’ve seen so many companies with so many ideas.
“We found everything we needed all under one roof, all in one day, and what I’ve found today, I wouldn’t have been able to source any other way. The beauty of these trade shows is you can talk to the right people directly who know their product and can help you with your specific requirements. Now it’s a matter of separating what we have and making the final decision.”
With 30 UAE-based companies and more than 30 exhibitors making their debuts, Materials Handling Middle East 2015 was the most comprehensive and representative in its 14-year history.
A brand new feature this year was the Forklift Operator of the Year, a unique competition where 77 contestants from throughout the UAE went head to head to be crowned the country’s most skilled, safest, and efficient forklift operator.
George Kumi, of auto parts supplier Diesel Technic came out on top after a day of navigating three tonnes of electric forklift machinery through narrow spaces replicating a tight warehouse environment. Mohammed Aaga from courier company Aramex, came in second, while Imran Khan Jay, from logistics provider Baqer Mohibi Enterprises, was third.
Kumi, who has been driving forklifts since 2010, said: “It feels tremendous. I didn’t think it would end like this. I was a little surprised that I won. I knew I had done well, but I thought my friend had taken the lead from me early. From where I come, we had a lot of training, which played its part in the final result but it was really a lot of fun and I’m really happy.”
Returning features at Materials Handling Middle East was the popular Demo Area, where exhibitors are showcased the unique capabilities of some of the world’s most trusted forklift brands, such as Toyota, Raymond, Jungheinrich, and Hyster; while the two-day Warehousing and Materials Handling Conference put a spotlight on the emerging trends and their impact on the regional materials handling industry. The 9th edition of Materials Handling Middle East will return to Dubai in 2017.