Focus still on supply chain, but China reopening holds promise

IELA (International Exhibition Logistics Association) chairperson Sandi Trotter (pictured below) explains why the IELA is honoured to have been chosen to lead the JMIC Net Zero Carbon Events Logistics Workstream and points to other initiatives the association is championing

Sandi TrotterThe fact that IELA has been chosen to lead the Joint Meetings Industry Council’s Net Zero Carbon Events Logistics Workstream is a true reflection of our importance in the industry. With seven IELA members actively participating in the Logistics Workstream, our contribution to the effort is one to be proud of. 

With our push to take the lead on sustainability in our industry, we are continuing to seek ways to encourage our members to take action on this critical issue. Our goal is to provide guidance and tools that will aid in this endeavour as we all move forward. We are committed to being a major player in this process within our industry. 

IELA is creating a new education programme for our members – the ‘IELA Academy’. This will be a multiple course seminar programme for IELA members. It is designed as an in-class programme for decision-makers and managers of the logistics industry to meet the challenges of working for stakeholders of the exhibition and event industry worldwide.

The increase in business in North America and in Western Europe in the latter half of 2022 was fast and furious, with steadily increasing volumes. The pace of this resurrection was not predicted to be such a fast upward trend and it was extremely encouraging to see the revival of our industry that was so devastated by the pandemic.

Business continues to thrive and grow and so the outlook for 2023 continues to be bright, most encouragingly due to the re-opening of China. This market was a major component of our industry prior to the pandemic, and so their return is very promising. 

Supply chain and capacity issues remain a challenge. Reduced airline and sailing schedules, ground transportation shortages continue to increase costs and extend transit times. While this situation has improved and levelled off, it still requires our focus. 

Staffing levels

MaltaStaffing and Human Resources continue to be a cause for concern. Our labour force has been hit hard over the last two years and many experienced, valued employees have moved on to what they perceive to be more stable industries. Attracting and retaining qualified staff to meet the demands of this lightning speed recovery is a major challenge.

Net Carbon Zero is an area of great consideration and one that is particularly challenging for our sector of the industry. As we subcontract our transportation, we are at the mercy of our service providers (airlines, ocean lines and trucking companies) to meet this challenge. It will require co-operation and collaboration to live up to the goals.

We are looking forward to our Congress and General Assembly coming up this June in Malta (28 June-1 July 2023). We are anticipating a large turnout where we can continue to celebrate the imposing recovery of our industry. We have weathered the storm and the future looks bright. We have had a strong rebirth and we need to work together to maintain and sustain the recovery.