After a two-year break due to the pandemic the Intermodal Europe, the popular container and transport trade fair, finally took place again. In 2019, Hamburg was the host city. The venue for this year's event was the RAI Exhibition and Congress Center in Amsterdam. iCON International Container Service GmbH was represented on site by seven staff members on all three days.
In addition to the "old hands" from Sales and Operations, our new colleagues finally had the chance to get a taste of "trade fair air" and were able to put a face to many voices familiar only from phone calls.
At the end of 2022, we would like to share our own personal impressions and experiences of the trade fair.
This trip to Amsterdam was my third visit to Intermodal Europe and it was a pleasure to meet up with familiar and new faces from other container traders, shipping companies and container depots. Besides the pre-scheduled meetings with logistics partners from the container industry, it is the spontaneous conversations at the booths or in the halls that make a trade fair special to me. The Container Owner Association (COA) booth is a popular meeting place for just these conversations. The area with its bar tables, separate meeting rooms and the opportunity to strengthen yourself with a coffee, a snack or a different drink are perfect for this. At the end of an eventful day, the COA booth is also a popular meeting place to talk about personal stuff and to put aside the 20 'Dry Vans, 40 'High Cubes, 45 'High Cube Pallet Wides or the One Way Leasing. Especially after the events of the last two years around the worldwide corona pandemic or the war in Ukraine, it was important to learn how competitors and partners were doing on a personal level.
After 2018 and 2019, this was the third Intermodal trade fair for me personally. Since the last two events were cancelled, all participants were happy to meet familiar as well as unfamiliar faces. The phrase, "It's nice to finally put a face to the voice" was heard several times a day! This year our whole team took part in the event and we gained a lot of new insights. Especially our "newcomers" Lara & Hannes were able to taste trade fair air for the first time and get their own impression of the industry.
As I am very enthusiastic about container innovations, the "Container 2.0" immediately caught my eye. It's the most environmentally friendly container on the market. Due to its lightweight construction and steel floor, this container manages a maximum payload of up to 29,210 kg, with an empty weight of 3,290 kg. It also has built-in, state-of-the-art technology, which means the container can be tracked worldwide and at any time through an app.
I'm curious to see if this innovative, albeit cost-intensive, concept will catch on in the market, and I look forward to being back in Amsterdam next year.
What shouldn't be missing at a trade fair with a busy schedule like Intermodal? That's right! Refreshments between the many conversations! A great stand for this was the coffee and waffle truck from CARU Containers.
It was my very first visit to Intermodal since I joined iCON. Of course I was very excited to meet all the people I had met in the last 1.5 years and to finally be able to put faces to the voices from the many phone calls I had made. In my eyes, the small red truck of CARU was a very good meeting point, as it was impossible to miss in the entrance area of the fair. It was also a great place to have a casual chat, sip a coffee and have a caramel waffle on the side. And let's face it, who could say no to that?! I'm already looking forward to Intermodal 2023 in Amsterdam, where the CARU booth will definitely be one of my favorite "secret" meeting places again.
The first trade fair after the pandemic and also the second Intermodal Europe in Amsterdam for me after 2017. When the choice was made for Amsterdam, the anticipation was enormous. The city center from "De Wallen" to "Spiegelkwartier" is always worth a trip. Only the pandemic, especially with regard to the traditionally late autumn scheduling, kept my excitement in check. Especially after 2020 and 2021 fell through. The atmosphere in the car was all the more relaxed when we left for the trade fair in the direction of the Netherlands.
After arriving at the hotel, we already spotted some familiar faces and immediately sensed that this was going to be a very special trade show. After all, we had not met many business partners in person for three years now. And that is the essence of a trade fair for me (despite the stress of self-imposed deadlines): taking enough time to meet new and old business partners and having personal conversations that go beyond the weather and the current state of the pandemic.
In addition to interesting keynotes on sustainability and innovations in the container world, visitors were able to see the innovations of the respective exhibitors for themselves at some of the booths. The Confoot booth was the one that really left a lasting impression on me. Confoot has been an important partner for iCON for many years. At the last Intermodal (2019 in Hamburg), we shared a booth and provided the 8' container (see picture).
With the new CFU Legs, there is no longer any need for an air-suspended chassis thanks to the integrated hydraulics. The container can even be placed on the ground completely and then "pumped up" again. Big advantage: No more need to order an expensive crane to lift the container off the truck, as long as the total weight is below the 20t limit. As a Confoot partner, we have all versions in stock and offer them for sale or rent.
To balance the "trade show stress" I packed my running clothes and enjoyed the quietness of the city in the early morning. Above all, you always discover something new on every run.
As luck would have it, Ajax Amsterdam was playing a catch-up game on Wednesday evening. With a bit of luck I got two tickets and was also able to make an important business partner happy. Thursday was spent a bit more casually with a hoodie at the fair, before I went back to Hamburg at lunchtime. As far as I'm concerned, the trade show can take place in Amsterdam every year!
In conclusion, it can be said that the Intermodal Europe 2022 in Amsterdam was a thoroughly successful event from Team iCON's point of view. In addition to the many positive impressions at the trade fair itself, innovative new developments in the container and logistics industry and many old and new faces, there was also enough time to continue to grow together as a team.
Our iCON hoodie represented this team spirit on the last day of the trade fair and made it possible for one or the other partner to talk to us again and get to know us personally. Because let's be honest, these hoodies are real eye-catchers and attract more attention than just a visitor badge.