Antwerp XL has pushed back its physical conference and exhibition to March 10-12, 2021. Concurrently, it has launched a series of digital networking events due to run later this year.

The April 21-23, 2020 edition of Antwerp XL was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, as HLPFI reported here. It had been rescheduled to take place on September 15-17, 2020.

“Whilst we were deeply disappointed to cancel our April edition earlier this year, we had hoped things might return to a form of normality come September. With the Belgian government’s announcement that all events cannot run until after August 30 2020, it makes it extremely difficult to plan, promote and run a large-scale international event,” said Mark Rimmer, Easyfairs divisional director. “We feel by moving the event to next year, it provides time for the industry to adapt and return to a new normal and we eagerly look forward to hosting the global community again in Antwerp, 10-12 March 2021.”

Nevertheless, Antwerp XL has been busy developing a digital offering to provide opportunities for the industry to learn and connect. In what it has been dubbed the “Summer of breakbulk”, the company has organised a series of online seminars and meetings that will conclude with a digital event during September.

“We’ve been working extremely hard to create something unprecedented and we’re incredibly excited and proud to launch XL Connect 2.0 and the ‘Summer of breakbulk’ webinar series,” said Rimmer. “Covid-19 has certainly brought with it a plethora of challenges but has also been the mother of innovation. We’ve all had to connect in different ways, through different platforms, be it with people or content online. XL Connect 2.0 caters to both these needs; a digital extension of the live meetings platform we run live at Antwerp XL and content that helps steer the industry.”

Antwerp XL’s first webinar will take place on June 24 with a focus on global trends and economic factors impacting the breakbulk industry. It will be delivered by Roy van Eijsden, ceo of Ballast Nedam International Projects; Matthew Watkins, principal analyst at CRU Group; and Wim Dillen, international development manager at the port of Antwerp. You can register for the event here.

Further webinars will run monthly, culminating in three days of virtual networking, roundtables and panel discussions running over September 14-18, 2020.