“modern Machinery for high-quality packaging IS IN GREAT DEMAND IN THE MIDDLE EAST”

Photo: Bernd Jablonowski, Copyright: Messe Düsseldorf /C.Tillmann

Photo: Bernd Jablonowski, Copyright: Messe Düsseldorf /C.Tillmann

Interview with Bernd Jablonowski

pacprocess Tehran means the interpack alliance at Messe Düsseldorf GmbH is for the first time this year offering a platform in the Middle East to suppliers of packaging technology and the related process industry. From 12 to 15 October 2017 exhibitors will be able to showcase their solutions at Iran’s most state-of-the-art exhibition centre.

In the interview Bernd Jablonowski, Global Portfolio Director for Processing and Packaging at Messe Düsseldorf, explains the advantages offered by the recently founded interpack alliance, what makes the Middle East and Iran, in particular, so interesting for the sector and what visitors to pacprocess can look forward to in Tehran.

1. Mr Jablonowski, interpack has just finished. But for you as Global Portfolio Director of Processing and Packaging this doesn't mean things get any quieter does it?

No, not at all. interpack may be the flagship of the interpack alliance, but in 2017 alone another nine trade fairs are planned. This means that apart from upakovka, already held in Moscow in January, and indopack, running next year, all the other foreign trade fairs in the interpack alliance will be held in the rest of 2017.

Furthermore, our general aim on each of the relevant markets is to establish our events as leading fairs. To achieve this goal we look, amongst other things, to partnerships with international and local associations. Developing the interpack alliance may be a challenge requiring quite a lot of commitment – but it is also great fun! And our dedication is now also visible to our customers. All events in the interpack alliance have a uniform appearance in the interpack colours blue and yellow.
2. As part of the interpack alliance you are in charge not only of interpack itself but also of ten other trade fairs in the packaging and process industry. What is your role here?

My tasks include global strategy and the development of the interpack alliance. Every foreign fair also has a central contact person. In turn, Thomas Dohse is responsible for interpack as Deputy Director. We are a strong team working together in close cooperation.
Graphic: interpack alliance, Copyright: Messe Düsseldorf

Graphic: interpack alliance, Copyright: Messe Düsseldorf

3. What events are grouped together by Messe Düsseldorf under the interpack alliance umbrella?

All our trade fairs relating to packaging and affiliated processes are part of the interpack alliance and therefore feature in our Processing & Packaging portfolio. Alongside Plastics & Rubber, Health & Medical Technologies and Metal & Flow Technologies this is one of four portfolios at Messe Düsseldorf. Two years ago the company was reorganised and responsibilities were grouped in line with the flagship trade fairs at home and the thematically affiliated ones abroad. This meant strategic teams were pooled giving rise to the position of Global Portfolio Director. The trade fairs within the interpack alliance are upakovka (Moscow), food pex (Shanghai), bulk pex (Shanghai), pacpro Asia (Shanghai), pacprocess India/IndiaPack and  food pex India (Mumbai and New Delhi), pacprocess Tehran (Tehran), components (Düsseldorf), food processing & packaging exposyum Kenia (Nairobi), indopack (Jakarta) as well as process expo (Chicago). The Chinese events run every two years combined as Shanghai World of Packaging (swop).
4. What are the focal points of each of the different events and are these potentially also impacted by the situation within the packaging and process industry locally?

This greatly depends on the market. Obviously, the needs of each of the countries and regions impact how we specifically shape our events. However, basically the trade fairs in the interpack alliance appeal to all core target groups that are also served by interpack: food, drinks, confectionery, baked goods, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, non-food consumer goods and industrial goods. Here each of the foreign trade fairs has their own focus. Generally, food plays a key role in all areas as the food industry is the world’s largest user of packaging.
Photo: Bernd Jablonowski at upakovka 2017/ Moscow, Copyright: Messe Düsseldorf

Photo: Bernd Jablonowski at upakovka 2017/ Moscow, Copyright: Messe Düsseldorf

5. The latest member of interpack alliance is pacprocess in Tehran. Why did you particularly opt for Iran as the venue for a packaging trade fair?

The country has been opening up economically over the last two years enabling companies to now become active on the Iranian market. There is, for instance, great backlog demand for technology among local food producers here. Due to our foreign representation and regular trade fair showcases we are fortunate to have longstanding contacts here that we can now leverage in a targeted manner. Malte Seifert, from our team in Düsseldorf, has the leading role for pacprocess Tehran.
6. With pacprocess Tehran you have your sights on the same target groups as interpack. Why is pacprocess Tehran still exciting for exhibitors who already attended interpack this year?

No two trade fairs are the same. While interpack as an international show focuses on the international market attracting the top decision-makers in the sector from medium-sized to large companies on key growth markets, regional events like pacprocess Tehran cover the local market more broadly. Technical staff and representatives from smaller companies come here as visitors. Even if the exhibitors are often the same as those at interpack in Düsseldorf, these visitors come to fairs like these because of the different, more demand-driven range offered here. Contacts perhaps already forged in Düsseldorf can be developed at regional trade fairs. In the case of pacprocess Tehran we offer interpack 2017 exhibitors special conditions for participation in Iran.
Photo: Fair visitors at Shanghai World of Packaging (swop) 2015, Copyright: Messe Düsseldorf

Photo: Fair visitors at Shanghai World of Packaging (swop) 2015, Copyright: Messe Düsseldorf

7. Could you give us a general overview of the packaging sector in Iran or the Middle East?

In this context there is no “one” Middle East as such since each of the regional markets displays quite marked differences to each other. What can be said specifically about Iran is that the market is slowly, but quite purposefully, opening up to international trade due to the loosening of sanctions since the start of 2016. Already now projects with foreign trade partners worth hundreds of billions are planned as there is backlog demand in the Iranian economy across all sectors. In terms of the packaging sector and the related process industry the country’s well-educated, relatively young population is increasingly demanding packaged products. To meet this demand manufacturers need modern machinery and services. This is exactly what companies exhibiting at interpack or other trade fairs in the interpack alliance boast in their ranges.

So sales opportunities in Iran are generally very good. It is expected that the food sector in Iran will grow by 3% a year between now and 2020, dairy as much as 12% and pastries even by as much as 19%. Precisely for this reason it is worth flying the flag here and making relevant contacts before the competition does so – and our exhibitors feel the same way.
8. How does the European packaging and process sector differ from the industry in the Middle East?

Europe – specifically Germany and Italy though also Turkey and Switzerland – is a global leader in mechanical engineering for the packaging sector and the related process industry. In the Middle East itself there are few comparable companies of this kind at this level. This means the technology has to be bought in. For this reason European machinery is in demand on growth markets like this.
Photo: flags of interpack alliance, Copyright: Messe Düsseldorf/ C.Tillmann

Photo: flags of interpack alliance, Copyright: Messe Düsseldorf/ C.Tillmann

9. You have announced that special themes and trade fairs like components will feature at the interpack alliance events. Is this also the case for pacprocess in Tehran?

As Iranian suppliers of packaging and process technology have a fair amount of catching up to do it makes sense to also hold the components fair here. This gives visitors the opportunity to gather information on the options available in this field and source individual machine parts to maintain or upgrade existing technologies rather than replace entire machines. This particularly makes sense for smaller firms as these do not always have the budget to invest in brand new machinery.
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