LIFTECH Expo Jeddah 2017
Second event is deemed a success despite challenges.
More than 3,200 people visited, and 65 companies from 12 countries participated in LIFTECH Expo Jeddah 2017, held at the 40,000-m2 Jeddah Center for Forums & Events in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on February 9-12. Relationships were formed, products were displayed, and deals were closed, despite the event having later-than-usual hours due to the heat.
Teamwork, Determination and a Bright Outlook
Despite some materials being damaged during shipping, fair participants and organizers worked together to put on an impressive show, observed Mustafa Uçar, manager of Integra Asansör of Turkey, who was present at the Genemek booth. The mood was optimistic, he said, especially among Turkish exhibitors, which filled nearly half of the booths.
Optimism is due to a thriving Saudi Arabian construction market and, in turn, elevator industry, Uçar said. “The main topic Turkish exhibitors discussed was how to increase effectiveness in prospective Saudi Arabian markets,” he stated, pointing out Saudi Arabia’s main cities are Dammam, Jeddah, Mecca, Medina, Riyadh and Taif.
Turkish companies are off to a strong start in the kingdom, as evidenced by Has Asansör of Turkey and Saudi Arabia-based Golden Lines signing a cooperation protocol on the first day of the expo. Culminating in a celebration that included a cake cutting, the deal makes Golden Lines the only company in Saudi Arabia authorized to sell Has Asansör controllers.
Fair and Fanfare
The fair opened at 1 p.m. February 9 with an official ceremony presided over by Mecca Regional General Director of Civil Defense Salem Al Matrafy and attended by senior bureaucrats from Jeddah, as well as military men. Matrafy gave a good bit of attention to the new Elevator World Middle East magazine and said he believes it will be beneficial for the entire region.
The expo floor closed at 10 p.m. each day. It opened at 4 p.m. on the second and third days, and 1 p.m. on the last. The hours were challenging to exhibitors but failed to dampen the enthusiasm of visitors, who showed great interest even during later hours.
Booths were large and elaborate, with Turkish companies having 30 displays. Other countries represented at the expo included Egypt, Germany, India, Italy, Kuwait, the U.A.E. and the U.S. Along with components, displays included passenger, freight and service lifts, as well as escalators.
Jeddah is the largest seaport on the Red Sea and the second-largest city in Saudi Arabia with a population of 3.4 million. It is 10th in the world and third in the region in completed buildings of 150 m or taller. An added bonus for visitors and exhibitors was Jeddah’s proximity to the holy site of Mecca, which allowed those who chose to do so to make their pilgrimages, or Umrah, there. The young city is on an upward swing, economically, with a focus on investment in science and engineering. It is a tall-building hotspot, where Jeddah Tower, the aspiring tallest building in the world at more than 1 km (EW, July 2015), is taking shape.
While big OEMs tend to handle major projects such as Jeddah Tower (KONE was awarded that contract), there is plenty of work to go around, with small to mid-sized companies performing most work in low to mid-rise buildings, Uçar states. In coming years, the need for more than one million residences is expected in Saudi Arabia, creating further need for vertical transportation in low to mid-rise buildings that will fuel work for these companies.
Reflecting on the expo and the outlook for the industry in Saudi Arabia, Uçar observed:
“Though it was held in Jeddah for the first time, the fair was successful in the number and profile of visitors. LIFTECH demonstrated to new exhibitors that Saudi Arabia is constantly investing in new construction. This, in a sense, is a new beginning. Moreover, it was also realized that achieving the level at which Turkish companies have been operating in this market for years is not possible solely by participating in a single fair.”