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Supply Chain News: MHI Says MODEX Show Full Speed Ahead Despite Coronavirus Concerns


Major Exhibitor Dematic Says it's Pulling Out, but Nearly 1000 Other Vendors Busily Setting Up Booths

March 3, 2020
SCDigest Editorial Staff

The MODEX show, like other conferences and events across the US and beyond, is in a tough spot, with some 30,000 attendees headed to Atlanta for the major trade show next week, while concerns about the spread of the cornavirus greatly complicate matters.


However, show producer MHI (formerly the Material Hanling Industry of America, a trade group of materials handling and logistics hardware, software and services firms) said late Tuesday in was full speed ahead with the show and that it was taking a variety of measures to reduce risks for attendees.

Supply Chain Digest Says...


MHI Says "We are proceeding as planned to hold a safe and successful MODEX 2020 in Atlanta, March 9-12."

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That as earlier in the day, Dematic, one of the most prominent companies in the materials handling sector and which always has a major booth at the bi-annual show, announced it now not partcipate in MODEX. Meanwhile, some 1000 other exhibitors were starting to put up their booths at the Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta near Centennial Park so  they can be ready for the show opening Monday.

Below is the full statement from MHI:


"We understand concerns about COVID-19 Coronavirus are top of mind, and we want to be as transparent as possible and share information about what we are doing to prepare for MODEX 2020. For MHI, the producer of MODEX 2020, the safety and security of our exhibitors and attendees is our paramount consideration.

We are closely monitoring the situation regarding COVID-19/Coronavirus and are following protocols that are provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Our 957 exhibitors have teams already onsite setting up for the show, and we want to assure you of the following:

• Our top priority continues to be the health and safety of all participants at MODEX including attendees, exhibitors, vendors, staff, industry partners, and others involved in the show.

• We are proceeding as planned to hold a safe and successful MODEX 2020 in Atlanta, March 9-12

• We are in daily contact with the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) who is working with both the GA Dept. of Public Health and the Fulton County Board of Health to gain insight on the spread of the coronavirus, health surveillance/screening efforts at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and updated data on possible impacts to the United States and Georgia.

• When it comes to MODEX attendance, we anticipate reduced international registrants especially from those in the most affected countries of China, Italy and South Korea due to travel restrictions. That said, advance registration is well ahead of the 2018 show and we anticipate 30,000+ attendees. We continue to receive record registrations this week.

• Most of our exhibitors are currently onsite moving in equipment and setting up their booth space. These exhibitors have been following the move-in schedule protocols and we anticipate all exhibitors will be moved in and ready for the shows' opening day on Monday, March 9.

MODEX 2020 FAQs Regarding COVID 19

What is Show Management doing to prepare for the show in regard to COVID-19?

We are closely monitoring the news and will follow any protocols that are provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). We encourage exhibitors and attendees to take common-sense precautions by using hand sanitizer and following these guidelines set by the CDC when they are onsite at the show.

We are working closely with all show partners including the GWCC, the airport authority and hotels to ensure the safety of all show participants.

We are taking steps to address concerns by providing heightened levels of cleanliness, including:

• Before and during MODEX, GWCC staff will repeatedly sanitize high-traffic fomite areas (door handles, hand rails, bathrooms, etc.) and provide additional hand sanitizing stations throughout the GWCC campus. Out of an abundance of caution, MHI will install additional sanitation stations in multiple locations on the MODEX show floor and common areas for the duration of the show.

• Encouraging a "no handshake" policy onsite for all attendees and exhibitors.


(See More Below)



Has the show been impacted by COVID-19?

Some of our international exhibitors and attendees have been impacted by COVID-19 due to the travel restrictions, and the spread of the virus in China, Italy, South Korea.

Due to the travel restrictions resulting from COVID-19, many China-based exhibitors and attendees will not be able to participate in MODEX 2020. China-based companies with North American-based operations and staff (not impacted by the travel restrictions), will exhibit at MODEX 2020 as planned.

Overall, the expected cancellations of attendees will have a very limited impact on the show. Visitors from outside North America represent around 12 percent of overall registrations to date.

What happens if someone presents flu-like symptoms at the shows?

Our first aid professional service provider will be readily available to provide medical assistance onsite to any individuals that needs medical assistance. We have two first aid stations onsite at the show.

At this time, any testing for COVID-19 would be managed by local hospitals and/or the CDC.

How many registrants are from international countries?

88% of current MODEX registrants are from North America, the remainder are from outside the region. We expect international attendance from countries outside North America to be lower, especially due to countries impacted by travel restrictions.

What are you doing to prevent those from high-risk areas from attending the shows?

The initial travel ban from China has restricted China-based individuals from attending the shows. In addition, the ongoing quarantines from other countries, including Italy, Japan, South Korea, have also restricted some individuals from attending the shows.

We are encouraging everyone to make responsible decisions to stay home if they are sick and to not travel if they are traveling from high-risk areas.

This update is done as part of MHI's commitment to the safety and security of our exhibitors and attendees. We advise that MODEX exhibitors and attendees always follow the care and hygiene recommendations recommended by the WHO and CDC while onsite at MODEX.

Ultimately, we encourage everyone to make responsible decisions and stay home if they are sick. Our Show Management has dedicated resources to provide quick responses to inquiries related to COVID-19. Attendees and exhibitors with questions or concerns are encouraged to email Carol Miller at

We will inform exhibitors and attendees should there be any further updates to this statement. Our thoughts continue to be with all who have been impacted by the coronavirus."

Says SCDigest editor Dan Gilmore: "It's obviously a very fluid situatio, but I agree for now with MHI that the show should go on. I plan to be there."


Should the MODEX show go on? What would you do? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.




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