As sales of packaging equipment slow in mature markets, suppliers increasingly are looking to developing countries eager to expand their domestic and export packaging markets. The upcoming IPACK-IMA 2009 (www.ipack-ima.com) packaging tradeshow, to be held March 24 to 28 in Milan, Italy, offers U.S. suppliers the chance to reach packagers from developing countries in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, as well as European markets.
In fact, show organizer and CEO Guido Corbella, says IPACK-IMA (processing, packaging and material handling) is part of a “cosmic happening,” since it will be colocated with Grafitalia and Converflex, acknowledged to be among the most important European events for graphic arts and converting. These events will be held on the same dates and use the same entrance ticket. With only one trip to Milan, he says, visitors can attend three shows, saving time and money. Moreover, PLAST 2009, the International Exhibition for Plastics and Rubber Industries, will also be held at the same time at the same Fiera Milano exhibition complex.
“The convergence of these four, large exhibitions covering the graphic, converting, packaging, and plastic industries is unique,” Corbella explains. “It has been referred to as a 'cosmic happening,' as four complementary exhibitions take place simultaneously, using the same venue,” he says.
Show draws international crowd
IPACK-IMA is being held in one of the richest markets in the world: Europe and the Mediterranean Basin. This geo-economical area includes 900 million consumers and represents a market estimated to be worth more than $6 billion annually to packaging machinery manufacturers.
IPACK-IMA is very much an international event, with about 25 percent of the expected 50,000 visitors coming from outside of Italy. The most recent IPACK-IMA show attracted visitors from 124 different countries such as Turkey, with 573 visitors; Israel, with 288; Egypt, with 205; Tunisia, with 189; and Saudi Arabia, with 121.
“By exhibiting at IPACK-IMA, processing and packaging manufacturers can reach buyers from countries that they cannot easily reach by attending any other events,” Corbella says.
Currently, one of the bright spots in the U.S. economy is export sales. According to the Dept. of Commerce, U.S. companies selling domestically produced packaging machinery, have been doing extremely well in Europe. For example, U.S. packaging machinery exported to the European Union's 27 countries was up 26.2 percent year-to-date as of November 2008 and exports to Italy were up 78 percent in the same time period. Several U.S. companies will exhibit at the show and others will be represented by European distributors and agents.
Considering all that is going on in the economic world, these are remarkable numbers, says Maria Grazia Facchinetti, marketing and communications manager for the show. And they have gotten stronger as the 2008 year has progressed. U.S. sales are aided by the weak dollar versus the Euro. American packaging equipment manufacturers that are actively marketing in Europe are finding their products competitive and gaining popularity.
While buyers visiting IPACK-IMA are interested in seeing the latest equipment and understanding the associated costs, many have “expanded interests,” such as sustainability, safety and prevention of food waste. All of these are to be covered at the show and in its related conference. For more details, visit the events program and conference agenda online at www.ipack-ima.com.
In addition, on March 25, IPACK- IMA 2009 and the Italian government will host an international conference that will focus on the advances in technology that can help fight world hunger. It will be held in cooperation with the United Nations and the World Food Program.
Show registrants will be able to utilize a visit planner that contains thematic routes through the show, including: Food; grain-based foods; feed and petfoods; beverages; fresh produce and convenience foods; nonfoods; labels; hygiene and beauty; pharmaceuticals; bioplastics, copacking and services; and material handling and logisitics.
Milan is well served by airlines from North America, and a hospitality service is available online at http://www.ipack-ima.it/eng/inf_3.html for visitors wishing to book a hotel through the show reservation system.
|More information is available:|
|IPACK-IMA, 39/02 3661 8111. www.ipack-ima.com.|