Where Are the International Trade Show Exhibitors?
Throughout America, trade shows are occurring in well-sanitized venues, buyers are present, but despite months of pandemic recovery, our shows are still missing a critical component – the international exhibitor community. Will we finally see international exhibitors at our shows in November?
Even with the Delta variant's rampage through the U.S., trade show management companies like Taffy Event Strategies, Emerald Expositions, Reed Exhibitions, The Glassbuild Association and others have successfully organized resources - staff, vendors, venues - to hold in-person events in cities across the country. They’ve used every resource provided to them by the government in a collective effort to restore the trillion-dollar (gross production) trade show business to a reasonable level of operations.
Unlike pre-pandemic trade shows in America, individuals and companies participating in this year’s shows have been overwhelmingly American. International exhibitors and attendees have been missing – as they faced the hurdle of a 14-day quarantine requirement for vaccinated foreigners along with the sky-rocketing costs and frequent delays involved with international sea and air shipping. The current shipping crisis, now being widely reported by the media, has been caused by a cascade of issues including a shortage of 60,000 U.S. drivers, shortages of chassis, freight containers and cargo space on ships, warehouse limitations, and the historic levels of congestion at U.S. ports, fueled by the increasing appetite of U.S. consumers.
Despite all those setbacks, international exhibitors have wanted to be here. Why?
The answer to that question is simple:
the U.S. purchasing machine is on fire. U.S. exhibitors and the few international exhibitors brave enough to take on the forementioned challenges are experiencing substantial return on their trade show investment.
Recognizing the economic impact of these foreign travel restrictions, the trade show and hospitality industries mounted extensive governmental lobbying efforts to ease the quarantine requirement for vaccinated foreign visitors and to expedite the necessary visa applications. I became involved in conversations with our industry associations describing the shipping conditions my customers have experienced. We were pleased to hear that the Biden administration recently took steps towards new regulations.
Starting on November 8, the U.S. began allowing foreign visitors entry into the country by air with proof of full vaccination and a negative Covid-19 test result taken within three days of departure. For fully vaccinated international air travelers, no quarantine time is necessary. These relaxed restrictions apply to vaccinated travelers from 33 countries, including from the UK, China, and EU.
Also beginning this month, fully vaccinated, non-citizen travelers are allowed to enter the US through a land border of ferry terminal for non-essential reasons (as a tourist, for example) with proof of Covid-19 vaccination. Unvaccinated travelers can presently cross into America through land ports of entry or ferry terminals for essential travel such as trade, however, beginning in January, all inbound foreign national travelers entering by land or ferry must be fully vaccinated, whether for essential or non-essential reasons, according to the Department of Homeland Security, and will be required to present proof of vaccination.
There’s still much more work to be done; the visa application process is suffering from lengthy delays for these foreign business travelers. The plight of the shipping industry remains an immediate and costly concern and further federal action may be necessary.
Trade shows provide a tremendous economic boost to our country.More than 6 million jobs rely on live events in the U.S. The events and exhibitions industry experienced an $885 billion total impact in 2020 from the pandemic. With consumers here showing their enormous appetite for products, we hope the U.S. can finally and fully get back to the business of trade shows this fall with the presence of the international business community.
5 Things to Know About the Shipping Crisis
(AND WHY THERE'S SOME HOPE
AMID THE HEADACHES)
1. Headlines blare that the supply chain is in crisis. What are the root causes? Well, that’s a story about what’s more and what’s less.
We are experiencing more shipping logjams than ever before. There’s more cargo on larger ships to meet soaring consumer demand (think towering vessels like stories of buildings). There’s more waiting time for ships to anchor and berth at U.S. ports. More Covid-19 related issues (both absences and safety measures) still impact operations and workers.
Now for all that’s less – and creating headaches for shipping: Less chassis and containers, less cargo capacity on vessels, less long-haul and local truck drivers, less dock and warehouse workers, less available warehouse space.
2. Why do we hear so much about the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles?
These two neighboring ports, which provide a critical gateway for trade between the U.S. and Asia, are the two largest ports in the U.S. based on the number of containers. Huge ships, stacking 20 and 40-feet long steel containers, bring in everything from raw materials for production (automobiles, for example) to much awaited consumer goods arriving for the holiday season.
Traditionally it’s been more economical for ships from Asia to dock at these ports, and cargo to get hauled throughout the country, although many ships are now looking for other available ports with less congestion. As of this writing, there are 73 ships waiting to dock at these ports. Before the pandemic hit, the average was about 17 ships in the waters awaiting a berth, according to the Marine Exchange which tracks port congestion.
A Bloomberg analysis estimated that the cargo of just 60 ships, if laid in a straight line, would extend 3,000 km, equal to the distance between Southern California and Chicago.
3. What are the adverse effects of this global supply chain breakdown for exhibitors and businesses?
The effects are numerous, but particularly for exhibitors, rising prices for their shipments is a major consideration as they plan for trade shows in the U.S. There are increases in shipping and trucking costs, as well as other fees such as rail surcharges and temporary storage. Planning must factor in shipping delays. For businesses, there are challenges getting parts and ingredients, as well as the timely arrival of products to the marketplace, due to the significant disruption to the global supply chain. Some businesses are changing their sales projections given these conditions and the concern about these shipments.
4.What are the measures being taken to ease port congestion and supply chain bottlenecks?
The Biden Administration mandated that the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports provide 24/7 operations with the intention of reducing congestion. However, according to port management in Los Angeles, gates remain mostly closed from 3 am-8 am, as few truckers are making appointments for these off-hour gates. Port directors describe the 24/7 operations as more of an aspirational vision than a reality right now (although they are technically open), because of the many steps required that could not be executed instantly. Truck drivers indicate that the restrictive appointment requirements, chassis shortage and poor service in those hours are preventing them from using gates during those hours. The government, though, has secured commitments from major shippers such as Walmart, Home Depot and UPS to use night gates and extend their own operating hours. Port managers believe it will take more retailers and truckers to commit to those times to truly achieve 24/7 operations. There is hope that other companies will follow the lead of the major shippers and make use of these off hours.
Warehousing facilities are also trying to catch up with the elevated levels of usage, with predictions that the surge will remain through 2024. Warehouses in the harbor are filled beyond capacity because shipments may need to be left at the terminal due to the shortage of drivers and chassis. Terminals have no room to discharge vessels quickly. The Port of Long Beach is developing more space near dock yards for the temporary storage of containers. Warehouses in other cities are feeling similar capacity issues, affected by the supply chain logistics problems. Vacancy levels are at historic lows in some places with less than 3% available warehouse space reported in major cities such as New York and Tokyo. Efforts are underway to build additional warehouse facilities but that will not provide immediate relief.
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol is also working towards opening more inspection sites at the ports to scan containers.
5. What can exhibitors do right now as they resume participation at trade shows in the U.S.?
While working well in advance of a show’s dates was previously a luxury for freight forwarders, it is now a necessity. We recommend to our international customers that they allocate at least 30 days after a ship’s scheduled arrival at the port of Los Angeles/Long Beach and 12-15 days for East Coast ports to ensure adequate time for the ship’s berthing, for containers to be unloaded, inspected, and delivered. PIBL has worked with many shows that have resumed in the U.S. since July, including some extremely large shows that have successfully returned. With the Coverings show alone, we arranged transport of more than 60 containers of tile and stone for international exhibitors, planning shipments over a 10-month period. We’ve found solutions for customers as we’ve navigated hurdle after shipping hurdle along with our network of agents around the world. We proactively organize with our contacts at every bottleneck point in the process, whether that’s Customs in another country, carriers, port authorities, venue management, chassis providers, contractors, or security.Early contact with us is the best defense against shipping delays that could harm your presence at a show.
IN THIS ISSUE:
Where Are The International Trade Show Exhibitors?
5 Things to Know About the Shipping Crisis
RECENT SHOW APPOINTMENTS
These shows recently appointed PIBL as official freight forwarder and U.S. Customs Broker:
Las Vegas, NV Nov 2-4, '21
(Private Label Manufacturers Assoc.)
Chicago, IL Jan 30-Feb 1, '22
IPC Apex Expo
San Diego, CA Jan 24-26, '22
Toy Fair New York
New York, NY Feb 19-22, '22
(Int'l Society for the Performing Arts)
Orlando, FL Mar 8-10, '22
Amusement Expo Int'l.
Las Vegas, NV Mar 16-17, '22
Inspired Home Show
Chicago, IL Mar 5-8, '22
Las Vegas, NV Mar 22-24, '22
Int'l Pizza Expo
Las Vegas, NV Mar 22-24, '22
Int'l Artisan Bakery
Las Vegas, NV Mar 22-24, '22
Pittsburgh, PA May 16-19, '22
(Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week)
Grapevine, TX Jan 25-28, '22
OTHER SHOWS SCHEDULED
Due to Covid-19, these dates may change, so please check show sites for updates. Exhibitors may contact PIBL for shipping estimates at this time.
C2E2 — Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo
Chicago, IL Dec 10-12, '21
Winter Fancy Food Show
Las Vegas, NV Feb 6-8, '22
New York Now — The Market. for Home, Lifestyle + Gift
New York, NY Feb 6-9, '22
Salon du Chocolat
New York, NY Mar 19-20, '22
For a complete list of the shows that PIBL serves as official freight forwarder and U.S. Customs broker, please email: email@example.com
PIBL Announces the Appointment of Sherri Pelc as Trade Show Manager
PIBL is pleased to announce the recent appointment of Sherri Pelc as Trade Show Manager. Sherri is responsible for handling trade show logistics including on-site assistance at shows, as well as helping to develop new business opportunities. In her previous position, she managed freight forwarding logistics at Rogers Worldwide where she worked for 17 years. She was instrumental in starting their Las Vegas operations and traveled extensively to provide on-site support to exhibitors at domestic trade shows. Sherri has been a licensed Customs Broker for over 25 years.
Phil Hobson, President of PIBL, commented, “We’re thrilled that Sherri has joined PIBL and is bringing her talent and deep knowledge as a trade show logistics expert to our company. Based in Las Vegas, she will help PIBL better serve our customers nationwide. She is also working towards expanding our portfolio of shows and our international agent network. During Sherri’s successful history in our industry, she’s coordinated freight forwarding needs for exhibitors attending shows of all sizes, including such events as the Fancy Food Shows, IPC Apex Show, Offshore Technology Conference in both Houston and Rio, and the Inspired Home Show, formerly known as the Int'l Home and Housewares Show.”
NYIAEE — We've Been Dedicated to Chapter Development for Over 20 Years
Phil Hobson, an unwavering supporter of the International Association of Exhibitions andEvents for more than two decades, is honored to have been invited to continue as a New York Chapter Board Member in the coming years. As a former Chair of the New York Chapter and present Vice-Chair of the Finance Committee, Phil reports that in-person activities have resumed for the New York area membership. According to Phil, here’s what he’s most looking forward to this fall:
First of all, seeing more of my colleagues at IN-PERSON TRADE SHOWS and CHAPTER NETWORKING EVENTS!
Our industry’s most important gathering – its annual meeting and exhibition - EXPO! EXPO! at the Philadelphia Convention Center December 7-9, 2021
The return of educational events like the State of the Industry & Chapter Address held recently
Working with NYIAEE’s new Chair beginning in 2022, Shannon Binger, American Thoracic Society’s Senior Manager, Meeting Services
Our PIBL team and partner agents are always in motionwith general cargo shipments from points across the globe. Here's just one of our assignments!
WEST COAST HOME
Retained by a West Coast entrepreneur, PIBL removed furniture objects in this executive's estate and shipped them by airfreight to our European agent. The weight and size of this shipment required precise planning to allow for a crane on the coastal property. The objects are serving as templates for more luxurious versions being produced by a European manufacturer. We anticipate bringing the new objects back in as many as eight containers!
Phil Hobson, President, Phoenix International Business Logistics