BAUMA goes on despite travel upheaval
BAUMA goes on despite travel upheaval Apr 2010
Shani Wallis, TunnelTalk
Complete shutdown of European airports and airspace last Thursday, 15th April, had a dramatic affect on the start of BAUMA on Monday 19th.

Opening Monday and not the same crowd crush as usual

Visitor numbers on a normally packed and buzzing Monday start-day were dramatically down on previous BAUMA events and a feeling of having turned up too early, before things were quite ready pervaded the halls and open area stands. Stories of how visitors and exhibitors made it to Munich for the first day of the show however, confirmed that this really was the once-every-three-years BAUMA week and that despite volcanoes in Iceland and dust clouds grounding all airlines and closing all airports across a wide swath of northern and central Europe, the show will and did go on.
"This was an unprecedented event," said Chairman and CEO of Messe München GmbH, Klaus Dittrich, "and it happened much too late to either cancel or even extend the show. Exhibitors and visitors from affected parts of the world have made extraordinary efforts to make their way to Munich and of 3,150 stands, 80 are not set up or not staffed. We have employed extra staff to man stands and take business cards and enquiries from visitors for passing on to the company's staff when they arrive. Despite the impact of the travel restrictions we are anticipating another successful event."
Of alternative travel arrangements, Dittrich spoke of buses being chartered to bring exhibitors and visitors from as far away as Russia, Turkey and Spain and the trains, ferries, buses, and car hire companies across Europe were all called upon to the maximum of capacity. Many also reverted to driving their own cars for many hours and thousands of kilometres across Europe to get to BAUMA.

Klaus Dittrich, Chairman & CEO of Messe München (right) explains the situation at the main press conference with Dr Christof Kemmann, Chairman of VDMA (left)

For TunnelTalk, staff from the United States were unable to make the trip and the Editor organising Plan B, took the Eurostar train from London to Paris on Saturday and the TGV and ICE high-speed trains from Paris to Munich on Sunday travelling via Strasbourg and Stuttgart. Plan A was an easyjet airline ticket booked in January from Gatwick directly to Munich for a cost of about £50 and travelling on Saturday afternoon for about five or six hours total. The alternative cost more than £400 and took two days - £179 for Eurostar on Saturday, as the book-early and lowest price tickets were already sold; a hotel stay overnight in Paris for about €100; and £153 for last minute TGV and ICE train ticket on Sunday.
For many exhibitors, companies had taken the opportunity to organise an annual meeting of the international staff at the same time as BAUMA and so had a full compliment of representatives in Munich before the close of airports the Thursday before. Some in fact had more representatives on stands than intended when staff could return home because of the shutdown. Many senior executives from North America and Asia didn't make it while others flew to Rome or Barcelona and travelled by train or car to Munich. For others, no-one has been able to be in Munich to represent the company at BAUMA. Their exhibit materials remain in their crates and boxes on stand shells and perhaps never to be unpacked.

Indian Ambassador to Germany, Mr Sudhir Vyas (third from right), takes an official tour of the show with officials and other guests from BAUMA 2010 partner country India

For the conference session on Monday afternoon to present information about BAUMA 2010's partner country India, the guest of honour, Kamal Nath, the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways was not able to make the trip but Mr. Sudhir Vyas, Ambassador of India to Germany, expanded his presence on the program to include an opening address on behalf of Minister Kamal Nath.
The start of the show was worrying and painful time for organisers and exhibitors who had invested so heavily in the premier construction equipment show of the world each three years and there was fear that key decision-makers might not take the chance to make other arrangements to attend, that invited guests would be unable to make it at all, and that the entire week might be a wipe out.
Tuesday however was a much better day than Monday, when the caterers at one eating-place said they had sold 10 lunch meals but had catered for 150-200, and Wednesday was almost back to normal for visitors. With flights resumed from all major airports across Europe there is a chance that Thursday and Friday will be the bumper days of the week for visitors where in the past the opposite has been more the case. Everyone needs to be reminded also that the show runs for the full seven days of the BAUMA week and that all the stands are manned on Saturday and Sunday as well. Many exhibitors said they would also welcome a suggestion to extend the show by two days into next week but this has been ruled out by the organisers - so far.

Out-door area interest

In the aftermath of a week that made this BAUMA memorable before it had even started, there will be the post-review and assessment of the knock on effects. Is the investment in shows such as BAUMA as productive as believed; what is the situation for making claims on insurances for missed flights as well as lost investment in an unmanned stand; what will be the planning for the next BAUMA in 2013 from May 15-21?
The impact of the airline shutdown is unlikely to have any short term or long term affect. The memory is short and travellers will be back to relying almost exclusively on air flights for shorter as well as long haul trips. There might be a slight increase in the number of travellers choosing to use high speed rail services instead of short haul flights but the costs are still too high by comparison (or the budget airline flights are too low) and the time taken for trips of more than 500km still takes too long. Faster trains, running on mag-lev perhaps, and tickets at less than half current prices, and tighter controls on the carbon footprint of airlines, will be needed for rail to become a more aggressive and attractive competitor to shorter haul flights.
For the distant future, perhaps the experience of this week will advance the research and development of the Trans-Atlantic floating submerged rail tunnel concept that proposes mag-lev trains, running in a vacuum environment and at supersonic speeds to have passengers whisked from Boston to Brest in a hour. Now that would be the, travelling alternative!
Submerged floating tunnels and strait crossings in focus - TunnelTalk, Jan 2010
India partner country for BAUMA 2010 - TunnelTalk, Apr 2010
BAUMA: All set for a bumper 2010 turnout - TunnelTalk, Apr 2010
BAUMA - Stage for discussion - TunnelTalk, Feb 2010
Growing list of tunnel exhibitors - TunnelTalk, Jan 2010
What to expect from exhibitors - TunnelTalk, Jan 2010
BAUMA - Exhibitors previews - TunnelTalk, Jan 2010
Internationals attracted to BAUMA 2010 - TunnelTalk, Jan 2010
BAUMA - Tunnellers on show - TunnelTalk, Jan 2010
BAUMA - Finding where you need to get to - TunnelTalk, Jan 2010
Standby for BAUMA - TunnelTalk, Jan 2010
BAUMA Munich, 2010
bC India, Mumbai, 2011
BAUMA China, Shanghai 2010
Messe München International (MMI)
Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM)

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