Coronavirus forces organizers to postpone and cancel breakbulk events
The outbreak of the coronavirus is having a major impact on the transport and logistics industry but event planners are faced with tough decisions as well. An increasing number of breakbulk and project cargo events are either being postponed or cancelled as the coronavirus hampers travel arrangements.
The latest victims of the virus are Antwerp XL, the 2020 JOC Breakbulk & Project Cargo Conference, PCB 2020 and the ESTA Spring Meetings and 2020 Awards Dinner.
“Given the unforeseeable, unavoidable, unprecedented and global scope of the current situation, it now makes it impossible to organise this edition of Antwerp XL as planned”, organizer My Easy Fairs said in a statement. “We apologise to all visitors and exhibitors alike and we are now working hard to find suitable dates to run a new edition later this year.”
IHS Markit said it has cancelled the JOC Breakbulk & Project Cargo Conference “following recent guidance from health officials and in light of the rapid growth in global cases of COVID-19 over the past few days, as well as increasing travel restrictions and other circumstances.” The event was scheduled for April 27-29.
PCB 2020 organizer Comexposium has announced new dates for its event. The Project Cargo & Breakbulk conference and exhibition 2020 (PCB 2020) was initially scheduled for the 1-2 April but has been postponed to 17-18 June. “We made the hard call this week to postpone PCB Future Projects in response to both domestic and international exhibitors, speakers and attendees that are not able to travel at this time”, VP Sales & Marketing Alli McEntyre Gaharan said on Linkedin this week.
Last week, the Overseas Project Cargo Association (OPCA) also announced that its INO Summit 2020, which was planned from 19-21 June in Istanbul, has been cancelled completely.
The first big postponement of the year was Breakbulk Asia, which was scheduled to take place in Shanghai on 18-19 March but has now been postponed to 3-4 August. “We have worked closely with our partners and the venue to secure this date and believe that the delay will enable our industry to recover from the setbacks experienced as a result of the current travel disruption”, organizer Hyve Group states on its website.
Hyve Group is also the organizer of Breakbulk Europe, which is scheduled to take place in Bremen on 26-28 May. The organizer told PCJ that at this point, the event is still scheduled to go ahead as planned.
Other breakbulk and project cargo events that are still planned for this year are Breakbulk Americas from 29 September to 1 October in Houston and PCJ’s own Project Cargo Summit, which will take place on 23-24 September in Rotterdam.