The much awaited and inevitable decision has been taken to postpone packaging and processing megashow interpack 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. New dates have been set for 2021.
The announcement, made in Germany on Friday 13 March, was welcomed and supported by exhibitors who can now revise their plans for the new dates. Interpack will now take place from 25 February to 3 March 2021. Show organiser Messe Düsseldorf has also postponed drupa, the giant for the printing industry.
Robert Laing, Messe Düsseldorf representative for Australia and New Zealand, told PKN that the decision to move the events to next year, rather than later this year, was taken in consultation with industry stakeholders, and it was agreed that these were the earliest and best possible.
"The overriding factor in the decision for Messe Düsseldorf has always been the health and welfare of its staff, partners and customers – exhibitors, visitors and members of the press."
The rate of spread of the new coronavirus infection globally, and right now particularly in Europe, meant there was no alternative but to look at postponing the event until next year. The statement issued by Messe Düsseldorf said the decision was taken following the recommendation of the crisis management team of the German Federal Government to take into account the principles of the Robert Koch Institute when assessing the risk of major events. Interpack would have attracted some 190,000 visitors.
"The decision was taken in close consultation with our advisory board and sponsoring associations," emphasises Werner M. Dornscheidt, chairman of the board of management of Messe Düsseldorf GmbH. It also reflects the wishes of individual industries.
"As their partner, we are currently doing everything in our power to reduce the economic losses suffered by our exhibitors."
Messe Düsseldorf stated that it would not have been able to comply with the rigorous measures required by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) to reduce the risk of transmission of infection at events that attract huge crowds.
"Measures to reduce the risk of transmission at major events, which the Robert Koch Institute has clearly defined – such as ventilation of the venue appropriate to the risk of infection, the exclusion of persons from risk groups and the comprehensive installation of entrance screening, were practically impossible to implement. Also, comparable measures were and are unreasonable in view of the unforeseeable rapid development and the size of the various events with up to 60,000 participants."
Messe Düsseldorf said interpack’s industry partners support the decision to postpone the fair and together with those responsible, are counting on a successful event next year.
"interpack is the absolute top event for the international packaging industry and related processing industries. The trade fair thrives on personal encounters and direct exchange between people from all over the world. This is only possible if there are no health risks involved. Therefore, the postponement is responsible and right. We are looking forward to next year's event to discuss the issues that are defining the industry, such as sustainability, and to present appropriate solutions," said Christian Traumann, president of interpack 2020 and managing director & group president at Multivac Sepp Haggenmüller SE & Co. KG.
"The coronavirus and the associated restrictions now represent a major challenge for the entire mechanical engineering sector. The possible and currently unforeseeable effects of the pathogen with an incalculable risk of infection, the threat of quarantine for returnees, general travel restrictions in some countries, but also considerable travel restrictions on the part of many companies unfortunately make it impossible to successfully hold the interpack in May. The VDMA, as a supporting association of interpack, welcomes a postponement under the given exceptional circumstances. The new date now ensures reliability in planning," Richard Clemens, managing director of the VDMA Food Processing and Packaging Machinery Association, said.
Board chairman Werner M. Dornscheidt said: "We would like to thank all our partners for their excellent cooperation in making these difficult and time sensitive decisions. We are pleased that together a date was found so quickly in order to allow all those affected to reliably plan."