LIVE: Access Equipment Exhibitors Weigh 2020 ConExpo Participation as COVID-19 Concerns Rise

ConExpo-Con 2020

While most exhibitors are continuing with their plans, some have decided to pull out of the 2020 ConExpo-Con/Agg and co-located IFPE in Las Vegas March 10-14, as concerns about COVID-19, commonly known as the new coronavirus, continue to grow.

Access and material handling industry exhibitors are weighing in on their plans for the show.

As of March 9, the Southern Nevada Health District had announced two presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Clark County residents.

Officials from AEM, organizers of the show at the Las Vegas Convention Center and Festival Grounds, have said they are closely monitoring protocols from the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. They are adding extra hand sanitizers, increasing cleaning, and encouraging a “no handshake” policy at the show, which they are estimating will draw more than 130,000 attendees.

Companies in addition to those listed below that have decided not to exhibit or attend the co-located shows include Platform Basket, Miller, BASF, Michelin, Stanley Infrastructure, Allison Transmission, Mack Trucks, Parker Hannifin, Eaton, Danfoss, Sun Hydraulics, Ram Mounts, and Bosch Rexroth.

At IFPE, over 25% of the exhibitor space has been formally canceled to date, meaning written cancellation notice was received. Show officials say they have resold about 2% of their total space. But the announced cancellations reflect a higher percentage. The largest booths where attendees enter the South Hall 3 of the Las Vegas Convention Center are now empty due to cancellations.

March 7

Palmer Johnson decided to not attend the show and canceled its customer event.

“Palmer Johnson has canceled our BeerHaus Customer Appreciation Happy Hour on Tuesday, March 10, and will not be in attendance at ConExpo-Con/Agg,” said Craig Parsons, CEO. “The safety of our employees and their families is our highest priority. We felt that it was in the best interest to reduce the risk of exposure for our team along with our customers and vendor partners. We look forward to connecting with everyone in the near future in other ways.

March 6

United Rentals, the largest rental equipment company in the world, confirmed its staff will no longer be attending the show. Company executives have also canceled their participation in education sessions. 

JLG Industries is changing its plans for the show, according to Jennifer Stiansen, director of marketing for the company. JLG announced that it has decided to eliminate all travel to and from the show for any staff located outside North America. The company is also cutting its show staff in half and is canceling its customer event.

“We have been watching the situation very closely since its outbreak in China," said Frank Nerenhausen, JLG president. "As the virus spreads, with a reported case in Las Vegas itself yesterday, we are initiating an abundance of proactive measures to keep our employees, customers, and the general public healthy and safe."

Dana Incorporated announced it was pulling out, releasing the following statement:

“The safety of our employees, customers, suppliers, and the public is our highest priority, which is why after careful consideration, and out of an abundance of caution, we made the difficult decision to withdraw our participation from the ConExpo exhibition in Las Vegas. The situation surrounding the novel COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak continues to evolve and we believe it is important to, where possible, reduce the risk of exposure for our team. We have made this decision as a precautionary measure but remain committed to the ConExpo-Con/Agg tradeshow and look forward to the next edition in 2023.”

March 5

Volvo Group announced all its business areas were withdrawing from ConExpo over the virus concerns. On March7, Volvo Construction Equipment said it had hired independent crews to staff its booth, one of the largest in the Festival Grounds at more than 60,000 sq. ft. where their equipment was already in the process of being set up when the company made the decision not to send its employees to the show.

Amber Reed, communications manager for Genie, a Terex brand, said as of March 5, Terex Corporation plans to participate. The company issued the following statement:

“As a global organization, Terex Corporation has manufacturing and support sites across the world, including China and several locations in Washington state. Terex Corporation is focused on keeping its 10,000 team members safe at all times and is taking stringent precautions to protect against COVID-19 coronavirus. Thankfully, to date (3/5/20) no Terex team member have [sic] been diagnosed with the virus. 

“Terex has issued a protocols checklist to all locations globally that outlines a number of safety precautions to be taken locally to protect team members from COVID-19. As a precaution at present, the company is not conducting business travel to or from China, Macao, Hong Kong, South Korea or Italy following an elevated travel alert from the Centers for Disease Control in the United States where Terex is headquartered."

Danita Jaipersaud, public relations manager for Skyjack, said the OEM still plans to exhibit, but they have had team members and customers decide not to travel to the show. 

"Safety is everyone's responsibility and the team that has elected to attend the show intends on taking precautions to protect themselves and our customers from the virus," Jaipersaud said. 

She said Skyjack has created health and safety awareness posters, which will be displayed throughout their booth.

Ebbe Christensen, president of ReachMaster and chairman of the International Powered Access Federation North American Regional Council, said as of March 5, the company plans to exhibit, but that the virus has altered some of the plans for the distributor’s manufacturer representatives.

“ReachMaster will maintain its intended participation at ConExpo as planned for now and based on the facts as we know them today,” Christensen said. “We will have some minor, but obvious changes in booth staff from Europe. As we represent products manufactured in Italy, all representatives from the factories that were scheduled to attend have made the voluntary and only responsible decision to not attend, even though they all live in areas of Italy that remains outside the epicenters of the COVID-19 cases.”

Christensen said ReachMaster will follow the “no handshake” policy, provide plenty of sanitizers, and keep proper distance when speaking to attendees.

“If I remotely felt that our participation in any form or shape would represent any elevated danger to our team members, or should new data surface that would support changes to our current plans, then we would of course reconsider our position,” Christensen said. “I hope the drop in attendance will be limited next week, and we will have a great show.”

Haulotte officials released a statement saying that the company is encouraging their teams to postpone business travel to "endangered regions whenever possible," and they are leaving the decision up to their employees on whether to attend trade shows. The company is still planning to exhibit at ConExpo.

Gary Weisman, vice president of Magni America, said Magni is still planning to exhibit at the show, though there could be possible disruptions for travel plans from representatives coming from Italy, where the company is headquartered.

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