Dubai, U.A.E: With the Middle East continuing to be a region that enjoys relatively healthy rates of growth, economic expansion and diversification, the region is attracting fresh attention from logistics, transport, warehousing and materials handling providers from across the world.

Materials Handling Middle East 2017, the region’s premier dedicated trade and networking platform for the intralogistics, warehousing, freight and cargo handling industries, is expected to attracting over 200 leading brands, when it opens doors next month in Dubai.

Industry experts expect the event to feature a range of the latest high-efficiency and cost-efficient solutions suited to the regional marketplace, thus making the three-day exhibition-cum-conference a must-attend gathering for industry professionals and trade buyers from across the region.

“The growth of the region as an important logistical and transport hub has generated huge demand for the latest in logistics, handling and storage solutions that enable efficient operations and facilitate rapid movement of goods and material in and out of the region,” said Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of Messe Frankfurt Middle East, organiser of Materials Handling Middle East. “The region is known for its readiness to adapting innovative new technologies and solutions, which is what draws the cream of the global materials handling industry to Materials Handling Middle East,” he said.

Alshaya Racking & Refrigeration is a headline exhibitor participating at Materials Handling Middle East 2017, and will showcase its expertise in racking and shelving systems, automation, supermarket solutions, doors and docking equipment.

Farhan Farzan Rizvi, Alshaya Racking & Refrigeration’s General Manager in the GCC, said its ‘one-stop shop’ approach has helped it to be associated with prominent projects such as Nesto Hypermarket, Union Coop, ENOC, DP World, Halliburton, Lulu Hyper Market, Nadec, Safi Danone, Takhzeen Logistics, Tamer Logistics, Quality Hyper Market, Kuwait Food Co (Americana), Refreshment Trading Co (Coca Cola), Gulf Mart and the Warner Brothers Theme Park.

“Customers are looking for solution providers with a one-stop-shop solution against the traditional trading product approach,” said Rizvi. “Our turnkey solutions are supported by high-quality industrial and warehousing equipment from internationally renowned brands such as Mecalux, Gokcelik and Angel Mir.

“Our solutions are designed based on extensive research of a project’s particular requirement with efficient logistics, which in return increases return on investment and maximises profitability of our clients,” he added.

Meanwhile, Feroze Jal Vandrewala, CEO of Al Mawakeb Trading, who specialise in total warehousing solutions said: “The current trends run toward AGV’s, Shuttle with Cranes for total automation, Stacker Cranes with Robots and many more, Opportunities very few due to costs involved in implementing them. The challenge is to make it economically viable and bring down the costs to get small and medium companies consider their usage.

Currently, battery operated tow trucks, pallet trucks and stackers have taken over manual handling and many establishments are now mechanizing to reap the benefits by hiring less personnel. Rack supported warehouses have saturated the Singapore warehousing market and they are catching up in India in a big way, Pre-engineered warehousing (PEB), is still the catch phrase with designers and builders in the Middle East, but they have yet to take shape,” Vandrewala added.

LEPEQ Fabrication from Lebanon is another returning exhibitor to Materials Handling Middle East 2017, and a leading regional supplier of conveyor solutions for containers, packs and pallets, as well as complete Intra-logistics solutions and Automatic Truck Loading Systems.

Tony Meghabghab, Managing Director of LEPEQ Fabrication is a strong advocate for automation in logistics and material handling: “The continuous business increase makes the traditional ways of intra-logistics handling complicated,” said Meghabghab.

“Automation is the continuing trend to reduce manpower due to unavailability and increasing cost. The recent political situation is slowing down some mega investment, nevertheless, the potential for the future is enormous.

Added Meghabghab: “Artificial Intelligence and Industry 4.0 is advancing in Europe and no doubt the Middle East will be asking for the same. We are preparing the groundwork and our entire system infrastructure will integrate to industry 4.0 in the coming years.”

Materials Handling Middle East 2017, will also feature the Supply Chain and Logistics Forum, a key interactive forum to discuss and examine the strategies, policies, trends that are of relevance to the industry today, as well as shining the light on new and existing opportunities in the field. The event will additionally showcase the Forklift Operator of the Year Challenge, a competition to decide the most talented and skilful forklift jockeys in the region.