Interpack organisers confirm trade fair is to be postponed until next year due to coronavirus

The organisers of Interpack have confirmed that the event will now be postponed until next year, following the worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus.

Messe Düsseldorf has confirmed that it will now be taking place from 25 February – 3 March 2021, just a few weeks after ISM and ProSweets scheduled in Cologne.

Until last week, the organisation had said the event would be going ahead, but the considerable rise in cases of coronavirus within Germany, across Europe and the rest of the world, it has moved to postpone the trade fair.

Confectionery Production had been contacted by both exhibitors and visitors alike, concerned as to whether the event would proceed, explaining that they would be financially affected having paid for accommodation and advanced preparations for the show.

Messe Düsseldorf said that it is following the recommendation of the crisis management team of the German Federal Government to take into account the principles of the Robert Koch Institute when assessing the risk of major events.

Based on this recommendation and the recent significant increase in the number of people infected with the new corona virus (SARS-CoV-2), including in Europe, Messe Düsseldorf has reassessed the situation. In addition, there is the general ruling issued by the city of Düsseldorf on 11 March 2020, in which major events with more than 1,000 participants present at the same time are generally prohibited.

“The decision was taken in close consultation with our advisory board and sponsoring associations,” emphasises Werner M. Dornscheidt, Chairman of the Board of Management of Messe Düsseldorf GmbH. It also reflects the wishes of individual industries: “As their partner, we are currently doing everything in our power to reduce the economic losses suffered by our exhibitors”.

“The city of Düsseldorf is following the instructions of the state government. Our aim is to slow down the spread of the corona virus so that the health system can continue to function properly,” emphasises Thomas Geisel, Lord Mayor of the state capital of Düsseldorf and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Düsseldorf trade fair company.

Delaying the spread of the virus as much as possible is also a declared goal according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). In order to fulfil Messe Düsseldorf’s responsibility for risk prevention, the company primarily had to minimise the increased risk of infection at major events. Measures to reduce the risk of transmission at major events, which the Robert Koch Institute has clearly defined – such as ventilation of the venue appropriate to the risk of infection, the exclusion of persons from risk groups and the comprehensive installation of entrance screening, were practically impossible to implement. Also comparable measures were and are unreasonable in view of the unforeseeable rapid development and the size of the various events with up to 60,000 participants.

interpack’s industry partners support the decision to postpone the fair and together with those responsible, are counting on a successful event next year. “interpack is the absolute top event for the international packaging industry and related processing industries. The trade fair thrives on personal encounters and direct exchange between people from all over the world. This is only possible if there are no health risks involved. Therefore, the postponement is responsible and right. We are looking forward to next year’s event to discuss the issues that are defining the industry, such as sustainability, and to present appropriate solutions,” comments Christian Traumann, President of interpack 2020 and Managing Director & Group President at Multivac Sepp Haggenmüller SE & Co. KG.

“The corona virus and the associated restrictions now represent a major challenge for the entire mechanical engineering sector. The possible and currently unforeseeable effects of the pathogen with an incalculable risk of infection, the threat of quarantine for returnees, general travel restrictions in some countries, but also considerable travel restrictions on the part of many companies unfortunately make it impossible to successfully hold the interpack in May. The VDMA, as a supporting association of interpack, welcomes a postponement under the given exceptional circumstances. The new date now ensures reliability in planning” says Richard Clemens, Managing Director of the VDMA Food Processing and Packaging Machinery Association.

The Düsseldorf hotel industry is also sending out an important signal through its umbrella organisation DEHOGA (Trade Association for the Hospitality Industry): “We appeal to our members and the entire industry to be flexible when it comes to rebooking by exhibitors and visitors. The Düsseldorf trade fairs such as interpack play an enormously important role for the city, the hotel industry and the catering trade. It would be counterproductive not to show goodwill in this situation,” as both DEHOGA-Representatives Giuseppe Saitta (Chairman Düsseldorf/District Group Rhein-Kreis Neuss) and Rolf D. Steinert (Düsseldorf/Rhein-Kreis Neuss Hotels and Tourism Group) emphasise.

Werner M. Dornscheidt is pleased about the general consensus and encouragement in this special situation: “We would like to thank all our partners for their excellent cooperation in making these difficult and time sensitive decisions. We are pleased that together a date was found so quickly in order to allow all those affected to reliably plan.”

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