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Coronavirus hits trade shows

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By Mike Travers

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VOLVO WILL EXHIBIT Volvo Construction Equipment has made a U-turn on its decision not to exhibit at Las Vegas…but the stand will not be manned by its employees.

Following Wednesday’s decision to withdraw (see story below) the company yesterday updated its position with this statement: “Since announcing our decision to withdraw from Conexpo-Con/Agg 2020 due to the coronavirus, Volvo CE has been working very closely with our partners at AEM [Association of Equipment Manufacturers] to determine the best path forward.

“At this point in preparations, it would not be possible for Volvo CE to remove the equipment and dismantle the booth before the show begins. Instead, a small number of locally hired independent staff will remain on the site for the duration of the show. The booth will be ready for show opening on Tuesday, March 10th.

“Volvo CE is deeply appreciative of AEM’s collaboration in this difficult moment and recognises the great value that the Conexpo-Con/Agg show brings to our industry and our customers every three years.”

A number of other companies have, however, stuck to their decision to withdraw from the show. Magna Tyres cited the original decision by Volvo and others not to attend and said: “Magna Tyres has been monitoring the current conditions with regards the spread of Covid-19 closely over recent weeks and due the latest announcements of several countries and states, we’ve decided not to attend.”

The International Fluid Power Exposition (IFPE) that runs alongside CONEXPO has suffered a number of withdrawals, among them Bosch Rexroth, Parker Hannifin, Eaton and Danfoss.

Those companies who have elected to go ahead have been putting travel restrictions and other safety measures in place. Wacker Neuson, for example, has halted international business trips which means no employees from Europe will travel to Las Vegas.

Hyundai Construction Equipment Europe has put a hold on all non-emergency air travel for its staff, although ground-based travel to locations currently deemed not to be ‘Covid-19 risk areas’ is still approved. Employees have been told to cancel any planned travel to quarantine zones in China, South Korea and northern Italy.

At the same time, all European staff have been asked to postpone training courses, road shows and other non-essential events.

Putting the ‘no shows’ in perspective, a spokesman for the organisers said cancellations represented about 1.7% of the total area. Around 15,000 sq. ft. of the cancelled space had been resold.

(Post updated 7/3/2020)

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LATEST  All Volvo Group businesses have pulled out of CONEXPO because of continuing concerns over Coronavirus it was announced today (Wednesday).

The decision follows California joining Washington State and Florida in declaring a state of emergency to contain the spread of the virus and covers all relevant business areas including Volvo Construction Equipment, Volvo Penta, Volvo Trucks and Terex Trucks.

Melker Jernberg, executive VP and president of Volvo CE said the decision was taken despite the company being in advanced preparations for the event. “…we believe it is the right thing to do to withdraw at this late stage. Our first concern is the wellbeing of employees, customers and the wider public,” he said. 

“It’s very disappointing not to be attending, but our first priority is the health and safety of our employees and others. Given this, it is with reluctance that it has been decided not to participate in this year’s show.”

(Post updated 5/3/2020)

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UPDATE   Deals struck at next week’s CONEXPO could be missing a traditional ingredient…the handshake between seller and buyer that seals the deal.

With just days left before it opens, officials for the Las Vegas event are encouraging a “no handshake” policy as coronavirus continues to spread across the U.S. Buttons and stickers will be issued to visitors and exhibitors to remind them to not shake hands and some exhibitors are printing their own guidelines for stand staff and customers.

“Ultimately, we encourage everyone to make responsible decisions and stay home if they are sick,” said show director Dana Wuesthoff.

(Post updated 4/3/2020)

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The world’s construction equipment industry is facing mounting pressure from the coronavirus crisis with disruption to trade exhibitions in Europe and America and a warning of “far-reaching consequences” for manufacturers, suppliers and distributors.

Samoter, the trade fair scheduled for late March in Verona, Italy has been postponed until May, with organisers citing the timing of set-up and logistics as “incompatible” with national and regional measures for Covid-19. Elsewhere, the huge CONEXPO show in Las Vegas is reporting visitor cancellations from countries including China, Italy and Korea as well as increased protective measures.

The organisers of the Las Vegas event from March 10-14 said they were “proceeding as planned” and added: “On the attendee side, we have had China-based registrants cancel due to the travel restrictions and, more recently, a small number of registrants from Italy and Korea. We anticipate some additional impact from international registrants in the affected countries.

“Most of our top exhibitors have been onsite for weeks moving in equipment and setting up their booth space. Cancellations have been limited to China-based companies without U.S. operations.”

CONEXPO: ‘Proceeding as planned’.

Show management is working with organisations including the Las Vegas Convention Center, the airport authority and hotels to ensure the safety of exhibitors and visitors. Hand sanitisers will be available in all registration areas, media rooms, information stands, the international trade centre and VIP areas while extra staff will be brought in to increase cleaning using strong disinfectant of all common areas .

The organisers said they do not offer refunds for badge fees due to cancellations but will review the rule and make a decision after the show.

Meanwhile, the March edition of Off-Highway Research’s Chinese market report examines the impact to date of the coronavirus outbreak. The article highlights some of the provinces and construction segments most affected and reports on when activity might restart.

The construction equipment researcher believes the crisis will inevitably lead to a fall in sales in China in the first quarter of the year and adds: “This will have far-reaching consequences for OEMs, their suppliers and distributors…”

JCB announced earlier this month it was cutting production at its UK factories in anticipation of component shortages from Chinese suppliers. It suspended overtime and introduced a shorter working week for around 4,000 JCB and agency shop floor employees.

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©Scottish Plant.  Article posted 28/2/2020