Australasia’s new powerhouse

From the July 2017 issue.

In 2018, Melbourne will play host to the most ambitious transport, logistics and supply chain event ever staged in Australia. Aptly named MEGATRANS, it will cover the entire supply chain from point of origin to point of delivery.

Australia is on the brink of a logistics revolution: The impending convergence of megatrends such as globalisation, urbanisation, demographic change, sustainability and resource scarcity is putting the entire continent under pressure to fundamentally rethink traditional logistics processes.

As Mike Mrdak, Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, recently put it, whole new markets will emerge as the young nation continues to embrace the sharing economy, Industry 4.0 and artificial intelligence, while others will become obsolete overnight. “We need to make sure we don’t get in the way of new efficiencies,” he warned at an industry forum in Melbourne. “[They] must be part of sound future planning, even if we don’t see it coming any time soon.”

In response to that historic call to action, a trade show has now come to life that is bringing together stakeholders from all sectors affected in the tectonic shift that is to come – ranging from road, rail, air and sea transport through to logistics management, warehousing, materials handling and infrastructure development.

Titled MEGATRANS, it will make its debut from 10 to 12 May 2018 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre in the very heart of Australia’s freight capital. Aiming to connect national and international supply chains and the businesses serving them, organisers say the three-day expo will provide a “platform for everyone involved in planning, executing and documenting the flow and storage of goods” between the point of origin and point of consumption.
Spread across a 30,000m² footprint, MEGATRANS will distinguish between four distinct functional areas, including Logistics & Material Handling; Warehousing & Storage; Road Transport, Air, Sea & Rail; Infrastructure; and Technology, explains Show Director, Simon Coburn – adding that the highly topical issue of safety features prominently across all sectors and modes of transport and will be a key focus area of the show. “As the borders between industries blur, new, multi-dimensional concepts have to rise to the challenge, and MEGATRANS is leading the way.”

Coburn says the show is meant to facilitate in-depth discussions on how global megatrends will affect Australian supply chains, uncovering new business trends and exploring new, innovative technologies along the way. The result is expected to be a unique networking opportunity across many facets of Australia’s vast industrial sector.

“With Australia’s population increasing at a rapid rate, we need to prepare for the biggest industrial revolution of this generation. Now is the time to look at the technologies and innovative ideas that can help us improve and streamline supply chain processes so we won’t be caught off guard,” he explains. “This includes all aspects of the wider infrastructure and road construction sector, which will contribute significantly to the future of Australia’s logistics and supply chain framework.”

MEGATRANS has already garnered the support of an array of industry partners and associations, including the Australian Logistics Council (ALC), the Australian Road Transport Suppliers Association (ARTSA) and the Victorian Transport Association (VTA), which represents over 800 employers and businesses across the entire transport and logistics industry.

The Victorian State Government has readily embraced the MEGATRANS concept, too, indicating just how crucial a strong and integrated transport and logistics industry will be for the nation’s economic future. “I appreciate the opportunity for the Victorian Government to be a key partner of MEGATRANS, and support the promotion of the logistics, materials handling and freight industries to a national and international audience,” the Hon. Luke Donnellan, Minister for Roads and Road Safety, as well as Ports, said in a June media statement. 

Coburn says he is excited to see that the State Government has taken note of the magnitude of the event by coming on board as a key partner early on. “The fact that we are the first to address the unique convergence of various megatrends Australia is facing by providing one central platform for all industries along the supply chain has not gone unnoticed,” he explains. “We are facing a real political and socio-economic challenge that can only be addressed by pooling resources and bringing various industries and stakeholders together under the one roof, and MEGATRANS is seen as part of the solution.”

Agrees VTA CEO, Peter Anderson, “MEGATRANS will be the essential tradeevent for companies looking to be at the forefront of innovation, technology and industry collaboration. To partner with MEGATRANS is an incredible opportunity that will bring increased value for all attendees.”

ALC Managing Director, Michael Kilgariff, adds that MEGATRANS is a timely opportunity to unite a range of highly fragmented industries and create synergies that could benefit everyone in Australia. “The Australian Logistics Council is focused on improving supply chain efficiency across the freight logistics industry and ensuring increased value and economic benefits for our members and the broader community,” he says. “As such, we are excited to support MEGATRANS, knowing it will play a vital role in connecting industry players to create collaborative opportunities and facilitate thought leadership engagement.”

Coburn adds that with such outspoken support from both industry associations and governments, MEGATRANS created a buzz from the get-go: “We know that MEGATRANS will meet and exceed expectations in delivering a comprehensive and unique platform for the wider Australian infrastructure sector,” he says – revealing that the show will feature site visits of Australia’s leading supply chain infrastructure, Industry 4.0, a technology showcase, key industry networking events, ministerial and government department round tables.

“As an exciting new trade show, the scope of which hasn’t been done in Australia before, MEGATRANS will be a hub for industry representatives across the entire supply chain,” he explains. “We’re inviting everyone to be a part of this game-changing expo format – from hands-on decision makers in the supply chain and logistics industry to CEOs, COOs, regulatory bodies, urban planners and government on all levels. Now is the time to bring everyone together and start connecting the dots.”

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