Nov 06, 2018
Düsseldorf. “Despite” was a phrase that came up in nearly all conversations at this year’s ALUMINIUM. Despite current trade disputes, such as punitive US tariffs, sanctions against Russia and various bottlenecks in the supply of raw materials, global production and demand are still continuing to grow throughout the world. This was clearly emphasised by ALUMINIUM 2018, which was bigger and more international than ever before.
“ALUMINIUM is a trade fair for light metal, but a heavyweight in its global significance for the industry. This is particularly true at a time when there are irritations and when some parts of various markets are realigning themselves, as it’s also a time when trade fairs can play a crucial role in providing orientation for global trade,” says Hans-Joachim Erbel, CEO of Reed Exhibitions Germany, the organisers of ALUMINIUM.
This explains why the number of visitors has remained so robust – despite the current challenges and obstacles in international trade. “It’s where the world comes together, and no one wants to miss out,” says Hans-Joachim Erbel. In fact, all industry representatives fundamentally agree that the current aluminium rush will continue to gain momentum.
In total, the organisers reported 24,148 trade visitors (previous year: 24,373). The result of this year’s ALUMINIUM is therefore very close to the record achieved at the previous event.
Ongoing rise in internationalism
Whether they came from South Africa, the United States, Brazil, Japan, New Zealand or of course Europe, the visitors from 123 nations (previous event: 108) turned the trade fair into a “United Nations of ALUMINIUM”. At nearly 20 per cent, the number of overseas visitors who came to Düsseldorf was particularly remarkable. It meant that the overall level of internationalism had risen from 58 to 63 per cent.
Global heavyweight in light metal
“It’s a yardstick for the quality and worldwide relevance of ALUMINIUM and it’s something that reflects developments in the international markets,” says Olaf Freier, Event Director of ALUMINIUM at the end of the three-day event. In this way ALUMINIUM underlines its function as a global trading platform.
The same picture emerges for exhibitors. The trade fair has now reached the point where over two thirds of exhibitors – 664 businesses in all – come from outside Germany, amounting to a 4-per-cent increase since the previous event.
In total, this year’s world trade fair of the aluminium industry featured 971 exhibitors. 54 nations were represented, headed by Germany (307), then Italy as the second biggest exhibiting nation (118), and then China (103), Turkey (64), Spain (32), Austria and Spain (both 32), the United States (29), the Netherlands (25), France and the UK (both 23 exhibitors) and Canada (19).
Dynamic development of demand on a global scale
The material of the future is facing a future that will be greater than its past. “The long-term global trend is highly positive for primary aluminium. According to forecasts, demand should reach 50 per cent by 2050 and up to 108 million tonnes. The fastest growth can be observed in Asia, although Europe is currently the second biggest market for primary aluminium and is likely to continue in that position until at least 2050. Our estimates show that around 9 million tonnes of primary aluminium will be needed over the next few decades,” says Dr. Gerd Götz, Director General of the industry association European Aluminium.
The forecast matches the findings of a representative industry survey that was conducted at ALUMINIUM by an independent market research company. It showed that 69 per cent of the 600 businesses who were asked are expecting either a substantial or slight increase in economic developments over the next four years. Only six per cent of businesses believe that there will be a slight downturn. The rest are expecting at least a constant level of business development.
“Electric mobility, digitisation, sustainability and additive manufacturing – those are just some of the megatrends that will eventually give the aluminium industry another boost,” says Christian Wellner, Executive Member of the Managing Board of GDA, the German Aluminium Industry Association. He believes that Germany’s aluminium industry is well prepared for such challenges: “We’re the ones who (help to) develop the products and solutions for tomorrow,” says Christian Wellner at the end of ALUMINIUM.
The next ALUMINIUM, the 13th Aluminium World Trade Fair and Convention, will be held in Düsseldorf from 6 to 8 October 2020.