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BUSINESS DRIVERSor those not familiar with the world of logistics suppliers, International Exhibition Logistics Associates (IELA) is a worldwide trade association dedicated to enhancing the professionalism of the transportation logistics and freight handling segments of the exhibition industry. For many years it has been the only association in the sector with such a goal, uniting members through its well-travelled annual congress.But accusations of being a cloistered boys club, exclusive to its own detriment and seemingly unwilling to embrace the new age of openness and connectivity, have done much to sully its reputation.A SCHISM HAS FORMED IN THE WORLD OF INTERNATIONAL LOGISTICS THAT THREATENS TO SHIFT THE BALANCE OF POWER FROM THE ESTABLISHED UNION OF IELA TO A NEW OPEN NETWORK OF CONTRACTORS LOOKING TO IMPROVE SERVICES FOR EXHIBITION ORGANISERS. EW INVESTIGATESIn 2009 when members voted in favour of a resolution to move from the current Swiss co-operative structure to a not-for-profi t UK-based company, commentators saw it as a watershed for the association, a shift towards becoming a more progressive entity. "We want to run IELA as a not-for-profi t organisation with a less complex structure," said an IELA spokesman at the time. "The decision to move from Switzerland makes sense as the management is mostly made up of UK members." But it never took place. Last year, IELA's 25th annual congress led with the tagline 'Back to Basics', again a promise to return to the fundamental tenets of an association: networking and contacts. There was talk of strategic redesign, the introduction of regionalisation and bringing the association into closer contact with other related associations. But despite this and the need to expand, IELA remains to this day a Swiss co-operative, accessible only to members once a year through its jealously guarded annual congress.Healthy competitionNow however there is a new pretender to the throne, created to fi ll the space around IELA's annual congress. Event Logistics Live (ELL) is a new event launched to open the world of logistics up to everyone involved. You pay only for the meeting. The event is open to contractors, agents and organisers and crucially, it's non-exclusive. The event launched this year in the UK, rather aggressively, one week before the IELA Congress took place in Korea. Attendance for the debut event was impressive: 160 attendees from 37 countries, 60 more than organiser Tfconnect had forecast would take part. But despite this, IELA members maintain the impact on their own event was limited, with the 2011 event boasting all of its 120 predicted attendees, again from 37 countries.OPEN FORUM