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Freight's big festival

Attending and exhibiting at trade shows around the globe has been one of my favorite duties during 20 years in trade magazine publishing. There’s always something new to be learned and intriguing people to meet. In the past, I have attended large exhibitions featuring energy, biotechnology, textiles and apparel, so I was looking forward to my first experience with the logistics lollapalooza known as the Transport Logistic show in Munich.

The early June exhibition, which included a hall devoted to Air Cargo Europe, was massive, and it was virtually impossible to see everything going on across the 1,184,700 square feet (110,000 square meters) of exhibit space. A record 53,000 visitors passed through the gates during its four-day run.

Of course, there are the flashy exhibits with bands, booze and belly dancers, but sometimes the more interesting stories can be found tucked away in small, simple stands. One such exhibitor was Djibouti International Airport, making its trade show debut. The relatively small airport in the tiny country known as “the gateway to Africa” has ambitious plans for cargo in the coming years. Moussa Houssein Doualeh, cargo manager at the airport, is enthusiastic about the prospects of DIA serving the continent’s landlocked nations with air cargo. You can read more about this in our Middle East/Africa news section, which begins on p. 10.

Global logistics provider Dachser fielded one of the larger stands in Munich. The 7,539-square-foot (700-square-meter) exhibit was always overflowing with visitors.

“For us it is either, or,” Thomas Reuter, Dachser’s managing director for air and sea logistics, said. “Either we show a presence that underlines our position or we don’t do it. It’s important not only for our customers, but to attract more people to create an awareness about Dachser. There’s never been a serious discussion that we would not continue to exhibit. We get a lot of good feedback from our customers, and we see the reaction of our customers to our innovations.”

Take a closer look at Dachser’s stand in Munich and you find an interesting way the company rewards its employees. Like many of the show’s prominent exhibitors, Dachser featured a sizeable catering operation, but it run its differently. All of the exhibit personnel, including the catering staff, are all regular Dachser employees. Serving in the Dachser stand is viewed as a major perk by employees and a great team-building exercise by management. Years ago, Dachser used a catering company as do most businesses, but discovered that it was just a job for students who knew little about the company.

“We realized that this makes a hell of a difference,” Reuter explains. “If you see these ladies, how enthusiastic they are, this is what we would like to show to our customers because they can see the difference as well. You can ask any of them about Dachser, and they know everything about Dachser. They are totally exhausted by the evening, but they love it.”

Exhibit personnel have to apply for the job and are carefully selected by Dachser branch managers throughout Europe. Sixty-two participated in this year’s exhibit.

John W. McCurry is the editor of Air Cargo World.

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