The 31st Mid-America Trucking Show at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky., defied gloomy economic predictions for the annual March event.
While there were fewer exhibitors than last year, many show participants said a high energy level was evidence of an industry climbing out of the economic doldrums of the past 12 months.
“The turnout was fabulous for us,” said Transport America’s director of recruiting, Steve Sichterman. “Everyone was surprised at how well the show went. A lot of people in the industry had heard predictions of how it would be slow because of the economy, but although there was a little less booth space we didn’t see any less traffic.”
The number of exhibitors at the show fell from 1,127 in 2001 to 980 this year as a few companies stayed away and others decided to share booth space. With 68,164 showgoers, attendance was off from 2001’s total of 76,600 visitors.
The show was the launching pads for some major industry announcements, including:
- Freightliner’s Mark Lampert announced that the company will resume production of the traditionally style Coronado in June.
- Mack Trucks announced that it would meet the tough new October emissions requirements with application-specific engines. Mack said the new technology, called ASET, uses an internal exhaust gas recirculation on vocational trucks and cooled exhaust gas recirculation in on-highway applications. The vocational solution, called I-EGR, allows a percentage of exhaust gasses to remain in the cylinders of the engine from one combustion cycle to another.
- Volvo director of marketing Frank Bio used the show to announce that the company’s exhaust-gas recirculation engines for those same emissions standards will come with a unique pulsing system to make the exhaust gas flow. The system is called “V-Pulse.”
In addition to the exhibits, the show also featured educational seminars and entertainment. Kenworth sponsored its annual free concert featuring country group Alabama. Country artist Mindy McCready and bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs also made appearances to sign autographs for fans.