Connecting cargo owners
Recognised as the UK, Ireland and Northern Europe’s only one-stop-shop for cargo owners, Multimodal 2019 was one of its largest events yet

When the doors to the NEC in Birmingham opened on the morning of 18th June, 2019, Multimodal 2019 officially commenced its twelfth year of putting shippers, retailers, wholesalers, importers and exporters in front of exhibitors offering the latest logistics and supply chain solutions. Originally created to give the UK its own platform to host every major logistics sector under one roof, Multimodal is now firmly established as the UK, Ireland and Northern Europe’s premier freight transport, logistics and supply chain management event.

“As businesses in the transport, logistics or supply chain management sector will know, they tend to operate in both vertical and horizontal sectors. What Multimodal does is offer a unique opportunity to make priceless face-to-face contact with fellow professionals from all walks of industry, and to network with one’s peers in a collaborative environment,” explained Robert Jervis, Logistics Portfolio Director, Clarion Events.

This year, over 9000 individuals attended Multimodal. “Multimodal 2019 was the ideal space for building networks and growing businesses, with shippers, retailers, and manufacturers making up a third of visitors, and exhibitors have already signed to Multimodal 2020,” Robert added.

Multimodal offered a range of exhibiting opportunities to engage influential visitors, and in 2019 the event featured between 200 and 250 exhibitors. Across the three days it also played host to a number of important seminars, delivered by industry experts and leaders. “The speakers this year included the CEO of Ocean Network Express (ONE) – which was a brand-new exhibitor in 2019 – Jeremy Nixon, CargoiQ Executive Director, Ariaen Zimmerman, Chief Executive of the Port of Dover, Tim Waggott, and Eurotunnel’s public affairs chief, John Keefe, to name just a few,” Robert revealed. “Other new exhibitors, meanwhile, include Eddie Stobart, The Swain Group and HAROPA. These are just a few examples of how the event attracted speakers and exhibitors who are at the epicentre of the biggest topics and talking points facing the industry today.

“I would like to thank all our speakers who came from a range of backgrounds, both inside and outside logistics, for sparking debate and providing insights into the biggest issues affecting the industry today.”

As well as the expected Brexit-based talks that took place across the three days of the event, significant time was spent discussing some of the exciting future developments attendees are preparing to deal with, from increased digital disruption and the potential use of advanced robotics and artificial intelligence, to the ever-changing landscape that is customs compliance. For Robert, one of the more exciting events that took place occurred on day three, when Multimodal 2019 addressed training, recruitment and the skills gap, with a major focus on apprenticeships, re/upskilling and education, with seminars and initiatives specific to this sector.

A panel of next generation of logistics leaders took to the stage to discuss the industry’s potential to attract and retain new talent in the industry. They talked about how the recruiters in the industry should do more to take advantage of the potential for people outside the industry to become specialists.

Speaking on the panel of her experience joining the industry, Jenny Karim, Supply Planner, Tarmac Cement and Lime said: “I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do in the supply chain because the logistics industry is so broad, people don’t understand there is a wealth of opportunity, and I am still learning.”

In addition to all of the aforementioned features and talks, attendees of Multimodal 2019 also enjoyed the annual FTA Multimodal Awards Night and the very popular Multimodal Mixer, which brought together exhibitors and attendees in a relaxed networking environment at the close of day two.

Thanks to the planning and expertise of the organisers, the interesting and stimulating information shared by speakers and the range of innovative and exciting products on show, Multimodal 2019 was a great success. Robert concluded: “We were delighted with the feedback from the show. Our first day was busier than expected – the seminar sessions were packed (especially the Brexit ones!) and everyone was delighted with the career-ready piece we organised on day three.

“The awards ceremony was great fun – and rightly recognised excellence in our industry. Our VIP guest, Steve Davis – was also a great addition to the fun on the night!

“Re-bookings for the event were at a record high – so we are looking forwards to being back in Birmingham for Multimodal 2020.”