Reflections on the 56th Annual IAM Conference
I had the pleasure of attending this year’s IAM conference in Washington DC, with my colleague Daniel Barker. This was the organisation’s 56th annual conference meeting (as well as my sixth year of attendance). The conference is historically held in excellent locations across the US and Canada and this year was hosted by the stunning Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Centre.
The conference is attended by moving, relocation and shipping companies from every corner of the globe and typically draws over 2000 attendees each year. Conference events included an opening reception, fun runs, knowledge labs and all-important networking opportunities at the exhibitor’s convention hall, where companies come together to meet with their trade partners and do business.
During my years of attendance at this conference, I have been pleased to form long lasting business relationships and subsequent friendships which have been built and bolstered at the IAM, and this year was no different. Over the course of this 2018 event we met with many companies from the UK, Singapore, UAE, Canada and the USA – sharing new contacts and reuniting with the familiar.
Europe and Brexit
This year I was lucky enough to meet an interesting and diverse group of people. During one of many notable conversations, a Senior IAM member from Czech Republic told me that “the moving market is growing through centralisation, organic growth and new business growth” which is fantastic news for the removals market within Europe – the topics of Europe and Brexit being of great focus to all.
Mood of the UK
The general mood of the UK removals industry (according to the conference attendees that I spoke with), was that the health of the UK moving market remained very strong when compared with last year. Many UK movers expressed that the UK’s current political situation had not strongly affected how business is being done – at least not yet. It will be interesting to see where we stand next year.
My contacts also indicated that within the UK private migrant market the main bulk of shipments are heading towards Australia and New Zealand followed closely by USA. Likewise, in Canada the economy is very strong, and the housing market is flourishing despite the recent changes to the mortgage procedure as young people in Canada are able to get on the property ladder.
Singapore attendees informed me that the moving sector now appears slower in Singapore with more people leaving than entering the country. Another IAM member from Dubai told me “there are more inbound shipments than outbound” - the expats who are not successful in Dubai leave ‘at a drop of a hat’ leaving their possessions behind and subsequently less work for movers.
Smile for Something Worthwhile
As well as discussing global markets, many attendees also made time to donate to Alchemy’s ‘Smile for Something Worthwhile’ charity fund. Members donated a dollar whilst posing for a photograph. The subject of the ‘most fun and memorable photo’ decided which charity benefitted from the donations with Alchemy matching the total. I was delighted to take part.
My personal experience
All in all, for me, this IAM conference was the highlight of my working year. As in previous years, I enjoyed being able to meet long-standing and new contacts in person. I have left the IAM professionally enriched and eager to continue my work in removals and relocations recruitment alongside our industry partners. To those of you that also attended this year, I hope our paths will cross again soon.
Written by Ray Inskip - Head of Moving & Shipping Services at Alchemy Recruitment Ltd.