Our group is made up of Dairy industry people from Oregon, Washington, Utah and Arizona, all gathered here in Singapore to work to expand our region’s export of Dairy products to Asia.
Our first full day, Monday April 23rd was quite busy. We started our day with a brief ‘meet & greet’ in our hotel lobby. Some of our team are veteran Trade Show delegates with years of experience standing on their feet for hours at a time each day, always with a smile and a word of welcome to booth visitors. Others of our group are visiting either Asia or Singapore for the first time and will have to quickly adjust to the varied pace of a manning a trade show booth – more on this coming soon. Handshakes and business cards exchanged, we got started.
Our day began with a visit to an importer/distributor of dairy and other products to a myriad of companies here in Singapore. They do have a most interesting sector of concentration. The cruise ship industry is very active here in Singapore and our hosts are suppliers to many of the ship chandlery companies that provide supplies to the hundreds of cruise ships that dock in Singapore each year. The thousands of passengers onboard today’s modern cruise ships expect the best of food and drink and our are please to be able to provide food beverages from around the world to satisfy the ‘cruisers’ hunger and thirst. In addition, they are also providing so-called ‘ships stores’ to many of the cargo ships and foreign military vessels that call at Singapore’s astounding Port.
We’ll report more on the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) later in the week, but suffice it to say, that at almost 31,000,000 TEUs in 2016, Singapore ranked second on the world’s busiest container port standings, behind only Shanghai in China. A truly huge number of containers handled in one year.
After lunch, we split into two groups: one part of our team did retail visits to scope out the local Singapore retail food market. The other group, including your correspondent, proceeded to the Trade Show venue to prepare our booth for the Show that opens tomorrow (April 23).
The look of a Trade Show venue the day before a show opens is quite chaotic. Venue staff and exhibitors are working at warp speed to get both the venue and individual booths ready for the onslaught of visitors expected on opening day. It was not different for us. We weaved our through empty boxes and crates and wooden pallets filled with exhibition materials. Wires and tapes product samples are everywhere, as are the chairs and tables and brochures and numerous other elements that make up a successful and frequently visited booth.
As we put our booth together and waited for our display materials and cheese and ice cream tasting samples to arrive, we checked for chairs and tables and serving utensils and cups and napkins and USA flag toothpicks (for spearing and serving cheese samples). Finally everything was at hand, we worked through some logistics details, like what to do with the back-up supply of frozen ice cream and determining if we would have easy enough access to it when the show was in full swing. Finally, we had everything in order and set out back to the hotel to reconnect with our retail visit colleagues for a joint dinner.
With all of together for dinner and nothing further on the day’s schedule we are able to get to know one another better and to have wide-ranging conversation about each other’s business and the various issues confronting the members of our team. The food and conversation were excellent and the team is primed and ready to face the thousands of visitors that will descend on our booth beginning tomorrow morning just after 9:00am.
We’re ready to go!
Barry Horowitz, Chair of the Export Council of Oregon, has taught and written on International Supply Chain Management, Logistics, Transportation and Trade topics for more than 30 years. He is currently working with the Port of Portland and other Oregon traded sector agencies to develop international trade strategies and programs.