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Carrara Marmotec 2014 : A good year and new players

Carrara event 1This year’s Carrara Marmotec, which took place from 21 to 24 May, has confirmed a trend involving new countries interacting with the Tuscan district. 8,728 operators from the industry participated with 18% foreigners, a sharp increase. Record number of delegations with operators and architects from 40 countries, official participation of the Chinese region of Yunfu and many operators from North Africa.

Carrara Marmotec 2014 ended with good results, thanks to the presence of 224 direct exhibitors (including 35 foreigners from eleven different countries) over an area of thirty thousand square metres. The exhibitors, which included the major companies and the Italian stone districts, made the exhibition a complete, high-profile event for the commercial and technical promotion of marble and granite, technologies and services.

A total of 8,728 professional operators visited Carrara Marmotec, including 1,458 foreigners (18% of the total) from 80 countries where natural stone is quarried and processed and the markets where raw and finished stone products and Italian technology are used, which accounted for a global trade surplus of over €1.5 billion Euros in 2013, with Italy at the fore.

Trade at the fair was very lively, with the participation of numerous official delegations, making a total of approximately four hundred contractors, architects, designers and specialists in quarry and processing work. Thanks to the work and organizational commitment of the ICE, Tuscany Promotion, the Chambers of Commerce of Carrara and Lucca and Unicredit, these delegations took part in guided tours and scheduled meetings at the trade fair and outside where they were able to discuss with producers and professionals at work in the Tuscan district.

“It has been four very intense days in terms of the number of visits and trade activities at the fair and throughout the territory. Carrara Marmotec has once again confirmed its position as an international event thanks to the number and quality of its exhibitors and visitors. We shall start from these figures, which are significant – says the director of Carrara Fiere Paris Mazzanti – to plan future promotions to maintain constant contact with Italian and foreign operators and create new events that will involve all stakeholders, employers and associations interested in the exhibition. From our statistical surveys and research, it is clear that the number and quality of visitors is in line with the current market trends that favour Italian products. The good participation of Italian operators, on the other hand, even in the light of the national market that is certainly not expanding, is the result of our widespread promotion and continuous contact with companies.

CarraraFiere’s Chairman, Fabio Felici’s evaluation goes beyond statistics “because it is clear that we must work to achieve a trade fair that is the result of overall cooperation involving the entire Apuo-Versilian district in an event that shows, in figures, that it is important to the whole territory. Our commitment over the coming months will be to identify new design solutions together with all the stakeholders in the industry to be implemented in future editions. Based on the survey – Felici concludes – that we conducted among exhibitors to evaluate the results, it emerged that the technology sector is the one that experienced the most positive results. Marble, on the other hand, showed a less satisfactory performance, which was also due to the situation of the domestic market, and we have to consider all this in the planning of the next edition.

In keeping with previous years, the largest number of Italian visitors came from Tuscany (which featured about 100 exhibitors including 40 from the technology and tools sector) followed by areas where the other stone districts are located: Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia Romagna, Sicily and Lazio.

What is particularly interesting is the analysis of where the foreign visitors came from. This clearly shows the current trend in the individual areas that are already important markets or are expanding markets. There was, of course, the usual predominance of operators from France, United Kingdom, Spain and Turkey, but also from the Czech Republic, Russia, USA, China and Germany that rank in the top positions for the number of operators.

Of great interest for the present and the future development of the industry was the dynamic trade involving the many operators from Mediterranean Africa who were among those showing the most interest in the technology sector.

A specific mention is appropriate for the official participation of the Chinese region of Yunfu. This is a district undergoing strong expansion that has officially begun to work with Carrara Council to develop technical, trade and cultural exchanges linked to the marble and related technology industries.

The Italian and foreign visitors appreciated the Innovation Corner, a first for the industry organised to show what is new in the field of innovation for stone quarrying and processing machinery and systems presented by the exhibitors. Visitors also showed great interest in the programme of conferences and events that was, according to tradition, one of the highlights of the event including significant technical and scientific content.

Conferences included the meeting on the value of the stone districts for the national economy, by Internazionale Marmi e Macchine and Confindustria Marmomacchine with CNR e GEI, the convention on Safety from the project to the management of natural stone quarries by ANIM (the Italian Association of Mining Engineers) and the presentation of the CPNL (the Joint National Committee on Stone) with the event “Giving value to our work”, by ANEPLA, Confindustria Marmomacchine, the trade unions FENEAL UIL, FILCA CISL and FILLEA CGIL to define strategies to give more visibility to the work of the stone industry.

Very interesting for the future of the industry are the results of the meeting between the trade associations of the Mediterranean countries to discuss common policies and strategies, in preparation for the meeting on “La pietra nel mediterraneo/ Mediterranean Stone”, the first convention of the stone associations in the Mediterranean by the IMM and Confindustria Marmomacchine. There was also the presentation of the results of the project “RECYSLURRY for the promotion and recycling of waste products during the processing of natural stones” and the presentation of the “Stone Sector 2014”, a publication containing statistics and reflections on ‘trends in the global trade of stone edited by IMM in collaboration with the ICE.

The winning architects of the Marble Architectural Awards – MAA 2014, the international competition for architects, planners and designers that have used Italian stone materials or materials processed in Italy in the projects (carried out in North and Central America) received their awards during the prize-giving ceremony. They then went on to illustrate their award-winning works, providing information and details about their choices and the use of the materials. The event was much appreciated by the large audience of Italian professionals. The association Women in Marble held their annual assembly on the same day.

Carrara Marmotec is organised by CarraraFiere and promoted by the Internazionale Marmi e Macchine Carrara Spa. It is sponsored by the Ministry for Economic Development, the ICE, the agency for promotion abroad and the internationalisation of Italian companies, the Tuscan Regional Government, Toscana Promozione, Massa Carrara Provincial Administration, Massa Council, Carrara Council, the Association of Industrialists of Massa Carrara, AIPI (the Italian association for Interior Designers). Its bank sponsors are Carrara Savings Bank (CARIGE group) and the Pistoia and Lucca area Savings Bank.

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