Dubai, UAE: Materials Handling Middle East, the region’s dedicated warehousing, intralogistics and supply chain solutions show, racked up a 12 percent visitor uplift on the 10th edition of the biennial event which closed at the Dubai World Trade Centre on September 5.
Some 3,882 visitors from more than 50 countries turned out for the show which has evolved into a futuristic showcase of robotics and automation as the regional industry transforms to meet 4th industrial revolution demands.
Close to 100 exhibitors from over 30 nations were demonstrating the latest technological solutions to deliver increased operational and cost efficiency, production capacity growth, speedy customer responsiveness and heightened competitiveness with logistics and materials handling at its core.
They included: Japan’s automation provider, Daifuku; Germany’s Schafer; the regional branch of industrial solutions provider, ACME; Kuwaiti transportation logistics giant, Agility; IQrobotics, the name behind Dubai’s first robotic fulfilment centre, and Swisslog Middle East LLC, a subsidiary of German robot manufacturer KUKA.
The show also featured a dedicated Chinese pavilion featuring around 20 of the country’s biggest industry names. The Chinese presence came in the wake of recent UAE-China accords for $3.4 billion worth of new Belt and Road initiatives which are bringing the UAE’s logistics location and facilities advantages into sharp global focus.
“The show underlined the major transformation which is now underway throughout the Middle East’s entire materials handling eco-system,” explained Jasmeet Bakshi, Group Director of Other Services at Messe Frankfurt Middle East, organiser of Materials Handling Middle East.
“We foresee the pace of change picking up given the robust forecasts for the region’s warehouse automation and e-tailing segments which were released on the side-lines of the show’s Supply Chain + Logistics Forum, SCALEX.”
The Forum delved into the impact and opportunities arising from the increasing digitization of the industry and the advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence, big data, blockchain and robotics that are disrupting the sector to improve business efficiencies.
Research and advisory firm LogisticsIQ used the platform to release its report on the regional warehouse automation sector. It says the sector will attain compound annual growth of 17.5% to 2025 to reach a value of US $1.6 billion – almost triple today’s US $600 million worth. The growth, it says will be driven by rising e-commerce demand.
Meanwhile, a whitepaper by global analysts Aranca, suggests that with ironed-out roadblocks and increasing technology take up, the e-tail segment in the Middle East and North Africa could register a compound annual growth of around 25% to 2023 to reach US$34 billion in value.
“These growth forecasts will have an expansionary impact on materials handling, logistics and warehousing in the region, which, according to analysts 6WResearch, will attain compound annual growth of 5.4% to 2025 reaching a value of US$69.2 billion,” added Bakshi. “These bullish forecasts consequently suggest the show will continue on its expansionary path for its next edition which will be held at DWTC in September 2021.”
And although two years ahead of its next showing exhibitors were eager to secure places at an event at the centre of a high potential region. Navin Narayan, Managing Director of ACME, said: “We have had quite a few meaningful conversations with perspective clients. This show has that advantage, more qualified customers are coming to us with inquiries and projects. We have spoken to potential customers who have the potential to turn into working projects within a year or two.
“It’s important for ACME to show its presence and to showcase new technologies that are in the market. People know what our capabilities are and that is one of the primary reasons why we have become platinum sponsors for the show.”
Andrey Kras, Account Manager at Daifuku, said: “We are here to find valuable leads and we have achieved this. It is important to show the market that our company is here and our participation at the exhibition is an important campaign to raise awareness of our presence in the region.”
The show also hosted the 3rd Materials Handling Middle East Forklift Challenge which saw 41 operators compete in a series of timed trails. Judged on criteria of safety, speed and efficiency, nine operators made it to the finals with Deepak Kataria of team CWT-SML Logistics taking the winner’s honours for the second time in a row.
Kataria, said: “I’m very excited to be taking home the win again. As the returning champion from the last contest, I found there was some tough competition this year, but I was for up the challenge.”
Materials Handling Middle East, which has attracted several national pavilions nearly 100 exhibiting companies from 20-plus countries, ran from 3-5 September at DWTC. For more information, visit: www.materialshandlingme.com.