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FOCUS: Materials Handling ME post show report

by ASC Staff on Sep 15, 2017


Materials Handling Middle East 2017 featured 126 exhibitors from 21 countries, and welcomed 3,300 visitors from 50 countries at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Materials Handling Middle East 2017 featured 126 exhibitors from 21 countries, and welcomed 3,300 visitors from 50 countries at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
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The Middle East’s dedicated trade fair for intralogistics, supply chain management, freight and cargo concluded this week, bringing a successful end to three-days of busy networking and discussions of the latest trends and innovations in the market today. 

Materials Handling Middle East 2017 featured 126 exhibitors from 21 countries, and welcomed 3,300 visitors from 50 countries at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The 9th edition of the biennial three-day event saw the participation of seven of the world’s top 20 materials handling systems suppliers, including the global top three of Daifuku from Japan, German company SSI Schaefer, and the American-headquartered Dematic. 

It also featured major local suppliers and service providers such as Kanoo Machinery, Al Futtaim Motors, General Navigation and Commerce Company (GENAVCO), SPAN, and ACME, while a two-day Supply Chain and Logistics Forum and a Forklift driving competition ensured visitors and exhibitors alike were informed and entertained. 

Much of the discussion on the show-floor centred around the readiness of warehouse automation in the GCC, with exhibitors showcasing a full range of wares from manual wracking and semi-automated order picking solutions, to fully automated high-bay warehouses incorporating Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things, otherwise known as Industry 4.0.

According research firm MarketsandMarkets, the GCC’s automated material handling equipment market will grow 8.6 % annually through to 2023, when it will reach US$500 million from US$278 million in 2016.

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That helps explain why Dematic, one of the world’s leading specialists in automated intralogistics solutions, was a debut exhibitor at Materials Handling Middle East 2017, along with the fact that in January 2016, it secured the contract for what will be the Gulf region’s largest automated distribution centre upon completion toward the end of 2018. 

Michael Kreeft, sales manager from Dematic’s European office which handles the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) region, was on-hand at Dematic’s Materials Handling Middle East 2017 booth. He said while he couldn’t go into specifics, the Dubai-based project was the largest Dematic had secured in the company’s 100-plus year history. 

“We signed the project in January 2016 and it’s going live next summer hopefully,” said Kreeft, adding that it was in the general merchandise industry.  “There’ll be people working in pick stations, but it’s highly automated. We have project managers working on it, and 50 resident engineers based here along with a customer service office. It’ll take two and a half years to build along with testing and then it’ll go live.

“We specialise in highly automated solutions but we know in this region labour is cheaper so the ROI is always more difficult with automation.  However the addition of VAT in 2018 will eventually lead to higher salaries comparable to Europe, making automation more attractive,” added Kreeft.

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