The second day of attendance at the Food & Hotel Asia Trade Show began with our departure from the hotel at about 8:15am. Traffic was unusually heavy and it took us just over an hour to reach the exhibition site. Singapore is not very big, only about 278 square miles, about 3.5 times the size of Washington, DC. It is an independent island nation, separated by the narrow Johore Strait from Malaysia and by the Singapore Strait from Indonesia. Singapore is located at only just over 1° of latitude north of the Equator, thus it experiences very tropical weather and a consistent amount and day and night time hours. Only about 1% of Singapore’s land is arable, thus it is almost completely dependent upon imports for its food. The population of Singapore is approximately 5.9 million people. Singapore is one of the wealthiest countries in the world when measured by GDP per person (at PPP) of about US$90,000) and it has a very high literacy rate of more than 97% of the population.
All of these factors have combined to make Singapore one of the world’s leading trading nations. As our group will learn on Friday when we will tour the Port of Singapore, the Port is the second largest container port in the world, having handled more than 30 million containers in 2016, second only to Shanghai.
Tuesday’s attendance at the show seemed to get off to a slow start and build up thoughout the day until a peak at about 3:00pm. While we do not have any attendance details, Wednesday’s crowd seemed to be very similar in numbers. During the early hours, until about 11:00am, it was a bit slow; it picked up through the lunch hour (or two) with what seemed to be a peak at around 3:00pm. We experienced a pretty consistent flow of people all day long beginning about 10:00am and running through about 3:00pm.
From the reactions of those people that stopped by and sampled our products, they appeared to very much enjoy the cheese products and to really enjoy the ice cream. Our processors had numerous conversations and many of those conversation will become sales leads to be followed up. The overall impression was highly favorable and we feel quite confident that the results will translate to sales within the coming months – clearly the primary goal of this mission.
While we had strong and consistent traffic all day, I had a number of opportunities to randomly do a search of the neighboring exhibition hall. While there were no obvious differences between the halls, the nest next one over looked to have had perhaps about 20% fewer visitors. This is based on visual look of only hall 8 next door). The booths of China and Turkey seemed to be particularly light on visitors.
The crowd began to noticeably thin out around 4:30pm and at 5:30pm we gave our weary feet and backs a break and headed back to the hotel. We’ll be back at it on Thursday!
Barry Horowitz, former-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.
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