On 13 March 2020, Messe Düsseldorf announced that it is postponing the leading international trade fair interpack. It will now take place from 25 February to 3 March 2021. Furthermore, Messe Düsseldorf announced that the drupa trade fair scheduled for 16 – 26 June 2020 will be postponed to 20 – 30 April 2021.
In doing so, the organiser 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,“ emphasised 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,“ emphasised 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.
According to Messe Düsseldorf, 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,“ commented Christian Traumann, President of interpack 2020 and Managing Director & Group President at Multivac Sepp Haggenmüller.
„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“ said Richard Clemens, Managing Director of the VDMA Food Processing and Packaging Machinery Association.
drupa president Claus Bolza-Schünemann commented: „A postponement of drupa was unavoidable after the latest developments. The decision is therefore right and responsible. Many exhibitors start their logistical preparations middle of March – today’s announcement of the postponement enables all those affected to react now, reschedule and prepare for the event date in April 2021. The excitement for ‚embrace the future‘ remains undiminished – also in 2021“.
In view of the increased risk entailed by a fair with significant international participation, the industry associations also welcome the announcement: „drupa is the most important meeting place for the international printing industry,“ said Dr. Markus Heering, Managing Director of the Printing and Paper Technology Trade Association of the VDMA. „True to the motto ‚embrace the future‘, it is characterised by personal, international contact and live product presentations. The risk of infection would simply be too high at present. We therefore support the decision to postpone the event and look forward to the date next year.”
Werner M. Dornscheidt is pleased about the general consensus and encouragement in this special situation: „We would like to thank all partners for their excellent cooperation in making these difficult and time sensitive decisions. We are pleased that together dates were found so quickly in order to provide all those affected with reliability in planning.”