INTERVIEW: Ahmed Pauwels, Messe Frankfurt Middle East

Ahead of September's Materials Handling Middle East, we ask the CEO of the company organising the show, Ahmed Pauwels, what visitors expect.
Ahmed Pauwels is CEO of Messe Frankfurt Middle East, organiser of Materials Handling Middle East.
Ahmed Pauwels is CEO of Messe Frankfurt Middle East, organiser of Materials Handling Middle East.


Ahmed Pauwels is CEO of Messe Frankfurt Middle East, organiser of Materials Handling Middle East

Please provide a snapshot of the biennial Materials Handling ME 2015 in terms of the industry scope the exhibition and the typical exhibitors?
Materials Handling Middle East functions as a key interactive business forum for the rapidly-growing materials handling industry in the wider Middle East region and to provide a vital business development and outreach platform for international exhibitors looking to engage with the regional market.

Now in its eighth edition, the event has grown comprehensively in size, scope and reach to become the primary trade and networking meeting place for this vital industry.

Even as the region, fuelled by rapidly developing economies, continues to make great strides in logistics and commercial infrastructure and plays a crucial role in shipping huge quantities of oil and gas to fire the global industrial complex, Materials Handling Middle East has a vital role to play in connecting major international materials handling brands with some of the most lucrative global markets.

Today the event, which is the only truly representative international trade fair serving the regional industry, provides a launch pad for international brands to showcase innovative products and solutions to trade buyers drawn from across the wider region.

The event is also where regional materials handling firms and service providers can connect with leading industry experts and profit from their knowledge and experience.

Materials Handling ME made its debut in 2001 and has grown considerably to its current extent and size. What is its current size in terms of numbers of exhibitors and exhibition space size and to what do you attribute the success of this exhibition to?

Since its debut in 2001, Materials Handling Middle East has grown apace with the burgeoning materials handling and logistics industry in the region.

From a small beginning with 40 exhibitors from 10 countries, the show has now grown to cover over 8,000 sqm gross of the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre and is expected to feature 152 exhibitors and draw in nearly 3,500 key influencers, trade buyers and industry representatives over the show's three days.

This continued growth can be attributed to certain key factors. The primary growth factor has been the unprecedented growth of the materials handling industry across the region.

Thanks to relatively rapid economic growth coupled with huge investments in commercial and logistics infrastructure, the region is set to witness a continued surge in demand for quality materials handling and logistics services.

This has created considerable interest among global materials handling brands in doing business with the rapidly-expanding regional markets. The other factor has been the ability of the exhibition to accurately reflect global trends onto the regional market and represent regional aspirations and requirements on a global scale.

We continue to work closely with our exhibiting partners in order to ascertain and anticipate regional needs, while at the same time ensuring that every edition of the exhibition is more representative in terms of scope and coverage.

What is significant about this year’s edition of the Materials Handling ME 2015 Show and how it has progressed since the 2013 edition?
This year's event will spotlight a wide representation of the latest trends and developments that are shaping the international industry currently. It will also give trade visitors a close-up look at new developments in automation and seamless handling systems that have the potential to transform the way they run their business. This year's show will focus on four key product groupings:

  • Materials Handling and Lifting Equipment which includes: Cranes & Hoists, Telescopic Lifts, Scissor Lifts, Boom Lifts, Pipe Layers, Industrial Trucks, & Hydraulics, Forklifts & Hand Lift Trucks, Stackers, Trolleys & Carousels, Dock Levelers & Loading Ramps, Wheel, Castors & Tyres, Batteries & Lubricants.
  • Logistics and Postal Service Providers featuring: Road, Sea & Air Freight Forwarders, Cargo & Courier Companies, Postal Service Providers, Logistics & IT Solutions, Fleet Management, Refrigerated Transport.
  • Value Added Logistics Services which covers: Packaging Machinery & Wrapping, Inspection Equipment, Weighing Equipment, Pallets, Plastics or Metal Containers, Re-packaging, Bar-coding – Printers & Scanners, Labeling / Tagging, Pallet Wrappers, Packaging Tapes & Industrial Films, Tracking Equipment.
  • Warehousing Equipment including: Warehousing Racking & Shelving Systems, Storage & Retrieval Equipment, Warehouse Management Systems, Warehouse Flooring, Warehouse Cleaning & Maintenance, Warehouse Safety & Security Systems, Warehouse Boxes & Trays, Industrial & Warehousing Doors, Shutters & Panels, Cold Store Doors.

Materials Handling Middle East 2015 will also feature the popular Demo Area where exhibitors can give trade visitors an up close and personal look at some of their cutting edge equipment. Running alongside the exhibition will be the Warehousing and Materials Handling Conference which will feature industry experts and thought leaders speaking about the issues facing the industry today.

Delegates will get an up close look at the challenges attached to materials handling in different industries; explore efficient materials handling storage systems; Discuss emerging issues and discover best practices to overcome them and be able to benchmark business opportunities with industry best practices.

How many visitors are you expecting compared with in 2013?
Being the only truly representative trade event reflecting the materials handling industry across the wider region, the exhibition draws in a wide spectrum of trade visitors including: wholesalers and retailers; importers and exporters; logistics companies; supply chain companies, warehousing companies; freight and cargo companies; free zones; distribution equipment and service companies; government bodies; manufacturers; ports and airports; road transport companies; shipping lines; builders and contractors and construction companies.

This year the exhibition is expected to draw in around 3,400 visitors over its three days.

How significant is the Middle East for the Materials Handling (generic) industry and by how much is the trade growing in the region?
The Middle East is becoming an increasingly significant market for the global materials handling industry.

Sustained growth across key economic sectors such as FMCG, retail, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, automotive and logistics is fuelling demand for high quality materials handling products and services across the Middle East.

The UAE logistics market alone is expected to be worth US$27 billion in 2015, up 15 per cent from 2013, thanks to strong import and export figures as well as an uptick in local manufacturing.

This growth is reflected in the Gulf region’s retail sector; where according to a report by Alpen Capital, retail space across the GCC stood at 10 million sqm in 2013, while regional retail sales are set to grow 7.3% annually to reach US$ 284.5 billion by 2020.

A similar story can be observed in the automotive market in the Middle East and North Africa, where the number of cars on the region’s roads will reach 33.9 million, driving demand for auto parts, and creating big opportunities for materials handling providers.


Are there plans to increase the frequency to make this exhibition an annual feature and to add other editions (Jeddah for example as with Automechanika)?
While there are no immediate plans to alter the frequency of the exhibition the growing popularity of the event and the upsurge in the regional industry makes this a very exciting time to be involved in this market.

We will continue to closely monitor market trends while working in tandem with our exhibiting partners and industry stakeholders to ascertain regional requirements.

Fast facts

First time exhibitors:
Aikah Establishment (UAE), Ale International (UAE), Alphaplan (Belgium), Arabico (UAE), Bulmor Industries (Austria), Cabka (Germany), Cascade (Netherlands), Cordstrap Middle East (UAE), Display Concepts (UAE), Fine Handling & Automation (India), Hydroturf (UAE), JASPA (UAE), Lootah Lemmens (UAE), LTW Intralogistics (Austria), Mah Sing Plastics Industries (Malaysia), Martins Industies (UAE), Mecalux (Spain), Modralog (Czech Republic, Multimech Heavy Equipment (UAE), Nefab (Spain), Paul Craemer (Germany), Prestar (Malaysia), S.P.E. Elettronica Industriale (Italy), Saber Middle East (Lebanon), Speciality Urethanes (India), Speed Group Technical Services (UAE), Standard Power Batteries Trading (UAE), Ticam (Italy), Twintec (Belgium), Viking Gulf Trading (UAE).

Exhibiting countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Switzerland, UAE, UK

Top five visiting countries outside UAE: Saudi Arabia, Oman, India, Iran, Qatar