At first glance you might think that we are dissing the recent, grandly named International Truck, Trailer and Equipment Show (ITTES) in Melbourne, but our headline is just referring to the element that may have saved the Show organiser’s bacon, but only just!

You see the Melbourne Truck Show was a shadow of its former self this year and without the late announcement of the Waste Management in Action and Roads & Civil WorksWaste Management Expo component as part of it, the show would have been in a really bad way. Even with it the show was at best underwhelming.

Two years ago at the last ITTES at the Melbourne Showgrounds all the big names were there, including the Daimler stable (Benz/Freightliner/Fuso), PACCAR (Kenworth/DAF) Penske (Western Star/MAN), Scania, Iveco, Isuzu, Hino, Volvo (through its dealer CMV Group). Fast forward to this year and it was patently obvious that the truck makers had made a mass exodus. The exception appeared to be a token effort on the part of Volvo and Iveco with their latest offerings in the waste management sector, Volvo with its new FE and Iveco with its erstwhile and venerable ACCO. Scania also had one of its latest spec garbage compactors but in terms of manufacturer presence it was thin on the ground.

It would be easy to see this story as a pot shot at a rival organisation, because the ITTES does happen to be owned and run by Prime Media Group, a publishing and media house which publishes a number of our rival truck and transport publications in Australia amongst a varied media portfolio. However this is a considered and carefully thought out piece, which we have constructed on the basis of the  realities of the industry.

Any company running a big Expo like this is going to put the best possible spin on it and pump up the hype, that is what happens in the commercial world. However realistically if the ITTES is to be judged objectively then the clear lack of major manufacturers displaying their truck ranges and the sparseness  of people around the venue during the two days we attended is a clear indicator that the 2016 Melbourne Truck Show fell well short of both the 2014 edition and more importantly well short of the Brisbane Truck Show, the pre eminent truck expo in this country.

The Brisbane Truck Show in 2015 claimed a total attendance figure of 33875 over the four days of the event last year, an average daily attendance of 8465. The ITTES in its post event press conference claimed “a saw a solid turnout of approximately 6,500 attendees per day”. We have no way of knowing the validity of these  attendance numbers short of standing on the gate and counting everyone in each day.

Apart from anything else it is difficult for a truck show to be taken seriously if none of the major truck makers are displaying their latest wares. OK Volvo and Iveco had their garbage trucks there but that was it. Sure there were plenty of ancillary truck industry suppliers with exhibits, if you are to believe the organiser’s own show guide there were 268 exhibitors, a goodly total and not to be sneezed out. However in the organiser’s post event press release it claims more than 400 exhibitors. The show owner and rival publisher John Murphy contacted us  when this story was first published and assures us  that  the guide was prepared four weeks  before  the show and more exhibitors signed up in that final month. We are glad of his confidence in the numbers and his show and thank him for the effort in pointing this fact out.

Good luck to the show organisers, it was a well organised and decently put together show and unlike other publishers and truck industry media we have no problems with Prime running a truck show like this, we actually enjoyed the 2014 and 2012 ITTES and thought they were great industry showcases. However the reality is the industry doesn’t appear to want a Truck Show every year in this country, the costs of doing it properly have become too great and it appears the industry has thrown its weight behind Brisbane run by the industry body Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (formerly the Commercial Vehicle Industry Assoc. of Queensland)

It maybe that things change between now and 2018 when the next Melbourne Show is due or that the organisers again depend on garbage to make the event viable. What ever happens we wish the Melbourne Truck Show well but somehow doubt that the numbers will add up in 2018.