As I discuss in our review of May’s CeMAT event in Hannover, Germany, its unsurprising that shows such as those have had to frequently meet rising expectations from the visitors and exhibitors that make up this industry. A successful trade event in 2014 needs to offer education, networking opportunities, technology showcases and much more besides.

Last month, the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA) held its regular LiftEx event. The organisers opted to co-locate LiftEx 2014 with the Safety & Health Expo (SHE) at London’s ExCeL. The show was pitched as offering exhibitors 25 times more visitors and therefore, 25 times more leads than previous LiftEx events.

I came away from the June show impressed with the slick layout of the exhibition and the impressive visitor numbers passing through the doors. I also believe that those exhibiting will have left London with the names of important figures from companies and industries that they would not necessarily have encountered them otherwise.

The show also presented a familiar issue where a comparatively small number of exhibitors are from one industry, in this case, the material-handling sector. Exhibitors want to use these occasions to engage with new customers, potential customers and also existing ones. However, several companies I spoke to wanted to invite them to such an event.

They expressed the logical concern that they’d sooner liaise with customers on a direct basis rather than risk losing potential business to a rival that is present 5 metres away. It’s a long-standing issue and a tough one to navigate successfully.

Elsewhere in this issue, Elimar Venegas places the spotlight on Latin America. For over a decade Latin American markets have undergone many reforms in their free trade agreements with other regions such as Europe, Asia and North America, resulting in economic growth that has affected the way each country manages its ports and highlighted the importance of their ports in the development of their economy.

We also look at the major role material handling plays in hazardous environments. There is a diverse range of industries where heavy-duty equipment, or explosion-proof hoists and cranes are utilised. Such examples can include environments where hydrocarbon gases and vapours, dusts of coal, wood and some metals and combustible fibres exist. We highlight some key products in this field.

Until next time, enjoy your issue.

Tim Sheahan, Deputy Editor