A total of 20,900 visitors from Russia and neighboring countries attended both events to see the latest innovations for their sectors presented by 828 exhibitors from 35 countries at the EXPOCENTRE in Moscow. The exhibitors reported very interested attendees at their booths, many of which were ready to place orders.
While the political situation, the fall of the oil price and the weak ruble make investments difficult, especially for small businesses, Western technology for plastic and rubber product manufacturing as well as for production of packaging and related processes is highly valued by Russian companies. There is still considerable investment needed in Russia and neighboring nations, especially due to the demands in the domestic consumer goods, food and packaging industry to optimize production processes and product quality in order to substitute imports.
Russia is still a potentially significant market currently experiencing difficult times. At the moment, for small and middle-sized Russian companies in particular, it is not easy - the problem of financing planned investments is a quite big. However, the market has in no way come to a halt. There is still a high level of interest in high-quality and innovative machinery, systems, and materials. Companies want to invest and are also making efforts to realize planned projects. In such a situation, trade fairs play an important role. With their participation, the exhibitors have demonstrated that they do not only have short-term success in mind, but are making efforts to maintain relationships. This was clearly rewarded, commented Matthias Werner Dornscheidt, President and CEO of Messe Düsseldorf. The trade fair company organized both interplastica and UPAKOVKA/UPAK ITALIA together with its subsidiary Messe Düsseldorf Moscow OOO. For UPAKOVKA/UPAK ITALIA 2016 they also worked in cooperation with the Italian organizer CPA.
The visitors unanimously gave positive feedback regarding the wide range of companies and products, the numerous product debuts and the presence of many market leaders. Exhibitors reported lively activity at their stands. The events of the ancillary program such as the Raw Materials Meeting Point with lectures and discussions about raw materials and plastics recycling as well as the exhibitors¹ open seminars with presentations of innovative products and processes were also well attended.
Russian plastics and rubber manufacturers still look to Western technology and Bernd Nötel from the VDMA Association for Plastics and Rubber Machinery is pleased that the German-Russian business relations are continuing even in difficult times. Machinery made in Germany has a good reputation here, and the service provided by the German companies is highly appreciated. German suppliers have taken advantage of their on-site presence to maintain close contact with their customers and present their innovations. The financing of planned and also necessary investments currently represents the greatest problem. However, there is definitely optimism for the future - especially because it seems that efforts are being made by the Russian government in order to drive forward the expansion of domestic production. Developing the value-added chain has long been neglected the current low oil and gas prices have now provided for some movement on this field. Many German companies came to interplastica with subdued expectations but were positively surprised by to the increased attendance number and the high quality of customer leads.
As in the past, Italy was strongly represented at interplastica 2016. Although Italian manufacturers were not able to sell as many machines and tools to Russia as in 2013, companies are relying on long established good customer contacts and the quality of their products. This was confirmed by Mario Maggiani, CEO of the Italian machinery manufacturer's association, Assocomaplast: Exports of plastics and rubber machinery as well as molds dropped by 12% in 2014 compared to the previous year, i.e. from Euro 119.5 million to Euro 105.3 million. And if we take a look at 2015, we have to even assume a decline of 20 to 30% in light of the existing figures to date for the first three quarters. With this, Russia has fallen into eighth place in our export statistics after being one of the five most important sales markets for Italian manufacturers of plastics and rubber machinery for many years. Mario Maggiani added that although no quick improvement had been expected due to the crisis in Russia, the great visitor turnout at interplastica as well as the specific discussions were clearly far beyond the expectations of the Italian exhibitors.