Only a few days ago I expressed my gratitude and hopes for 2022 as being the year when the forestry shows will be back for real, starting with the Swedish Forestry Expo in April. On Friday the 8th of October Swedish Forestry Expo, SFE, informed that they would postpone the show (again) until 1 – 3rdof June 2023.
Swedish Forestry Expo postponed
This was a big surprise to me. It seemed the SFE had a golden opportunity to start the trade fair season in 2022, after the Covid-19 pandemic. A brand-new fair with focus on large machinery for forestry – exactly the type of fair the organizers, for decades now, have claimed that they wanted. That is why they decided to make a fair of their own, without interference from traditional organizers like as for an example Elmia.
Instead of taking this chance they decided to postpone again. That they postponed from 2021 to 2022 was understandable due to the uncertain situation with the pandemic. But now, as all restrictions in Sweden are gone and most people in many countries are vaccinated, it´s harder to understand. Nevertheless, it´s the pandemic that is the official explanation. This is the short press-release that was sent to the exhibitors and the press:
“Swedish Forestry Expo, the fair for the commercial large-scale forestry, was supposed to be held on the 28-30th of April 2022. However, as a result of the pandemic that is still ongoing in many countries, the decision has been made to postpone the fair to the 𝟏𝐬𝐭–𝟑𝐫𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐉𝐮𝐧𝐞 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟑. We cannot wait to meet you all there and provide the best conditions for a safe and fun event! See you 2023!”
It´s true that the pandemic is still going on in some countries. But the organizer of the SFE, “Maskinleverantörerna”, ML (The Swedish trade association for suppliers of mobile machines) is, as the name suggests, an association for suppliers for the Swedish market. So, even if the fair is presented as an international event, I and many others still think that it will be an event mainly for the Swedish market.
Hard competition in 2022
I find it very hard to believe that the ongoing pandemic is the only reason why the fair is postponed. As the SFE clearly have the ambition to be an international meeting point, 2023 might be an easier year to reach that goal. In 2022 the large, and international, Interforst fair will take place in Munich, Germany, which is a hard competitor for anyone in the fair business. Also, the postponed Elmia Wood show will take place in 2022 (at least that´s the plan for now). To avoid those two competitors, and some others, might be a good move after all. As it looks for the moment there will enough fairs in 2022 anyway.
The Swedish trade association for suppliers of mobile machines, ML, is active within six sections; Building & construction, Green area maintenance, Agriculture, Forestry, Forklift trucks and Road maintenance. They are more or less involved in trade fairs within the different sectors. E.g., they organize a construction machinery fair at the same horse racing track as where the SFE will take place. You may have guessed that the organizer of the Swedish Forestry Expo is the Forestry section of ML.
According to the association’s home-page, the members of the forestry section are John Deere Forestry, Komatsu Forest, Ponsse AB and Rottne Industri AB. On the SFE home-page, also Eco Log AB are mentioned as co-organizer.
It´s an interesting group as these companies normally are competitors on the same markets. To manage the fair, they have hired the company At-Event who acts as project management for the fair.
What do other exhibitors say?
The criteria for allowed exhibitors at the SFE is clear: Only suppliers of professional forest machinery and accessories to those are welcome as exhibitors. It´s clear that it is the above-mentioned ML-members that have taken the decision to postpone the fair. But what do other exhibitors say about that?
“We only got a mail about the press-release from the organizer with no further explanation. We haven´t yet decided if we will go for Elmia instead or wait until the Interforst in Munich,” says Klas-Håkan Ljungberg, CEO at Bracke Forest AB.
“The definition “large-scale machinery” was a bit unclear from the start at SFE,” Magnus Wallin, founder and owner of Malwa Forest AB explains. “As our machines are suitable both for forest owners and large scale contractors it wasn´t obvious that we were allowed to participate according to their regulations. Eventually they changed it to “professional machinery” and then we were welcome to take part. We have planned to participate on both SFE and Elmia Wood anyway, so that SFE postpones again only means one less fair to be at in 2022. However, I don´t believe they did it because of the pandemic. It´s more likely it was because of the competition in 2022, mainly from the Interforst.”
“I was surprised that they moved the fair a whole year forward,” says Bo Axelsson, CEO at Bohult Maskin AB. “But maybe it´s for the best considering that the pandemic is not under control in other European countries. By the way, today we got an invitation for the Elmia show.”
The conclusion after talking to those three must be that it is no disaster that the SFE is postponed again. As mentioned before, there will be just enough forestry fairs in 2022 anyway. One question about the Swedish Forestry Expo that occurs in my mind is if it ever will take place …