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Urban electronic billboard that reads JOC TPM20 Cancelled

The TPM20 Canceled Conference: This is one attendee’s experience

PortandTerminal.com, March 4, 2020

TPM20, which bills itself as the “must-attend conference for the trans-Pacific and global container shipping and logistics community” was canceled hours before it was due to kick-off over coronavirus fears. This is one company’s experience.

LONG BEACH, CA – Jonathan Kempe’s flight from Sydney, Australia touched down at Los Angeles’ airport late afternoon on Saturday, February 29. He and two team members had been in the air for 15 hours and were glad to finally have arrived at their destination. This was their first time attending the TPM maritime conference and they had set up back-to-back meetings to promote their young company, Verifai.

“Important developments about TPM20”

“The second we landed I turned my phone on and it pinged right away,” Jonathan told PortandTerminal.com. It was an email from JOC Events, the organizers of the TPM20 conference and the subject line was a bit cryptic. “Important developments about TPM20“.

READ: Singapore Maritime Week Postponed Due to Coronavirus

Jonathan and his colleague read the message. “Given the deteriorating situation regarding the spread of the COVID-19 disease…” The organizers of the event had decided to cancel the TPM20!

“We basically burst out laughing,” he said. “What else could we do? It was that or cry”.

Kempe was still strapped into his airplane seat when he read the note that the conference he and a colleague had just flown over 15 hours to attend was cancelled.

“Adaptation Mode”

Peter Tirschwell is Vice President, Maritime & Trade, IHS Markit. He oversees JOC and other great brands. Chairman of TPM, he would have been the key figure in making the very hard, but responsible decision to cancel the conference.

“Once the shock of the news wore off, we went into adaptation mode,” Kempe said. “How do we make this work? What can we do instead?”.

The company quickly set up a meeting space on Slack which they used to virtually meet, chat and share information with many of the companies that they were hoping to have met face-to-face. “The irony of it,” Kempe chuckled when we spoke, “was that we flew halfway around the world to have some awesome Slack virtual meetings with companies back in Australia!”.

Kempe’s company Verifai wasn’t alone in thinking fast on their feet.

With the unfortunate cancellation of TPM 2020 & the El Dorado technology conference, we’re all coming together to build a great day of the logistics tech content on Tuesday, March 3.

Chain.io

Brian Glick, CEO at Chain.io got to work to set to a virtual TPM20 for the attendees, speakers and companies who were planning on making demos at TPM20. For free.

“The way we all started adapting to the reality that the conference was cancelled was like a microcosm of how supply chains are evolving,” Kemp said.

“TPM Refugees”

“It was pretty cool the way people came together,” Kempe said. “Every discussion would start out with – OK, when did you get the news that the show was cancelled? How are you adapting? It was a shared trial-by-fire experience for everyone. We started calling ourselves the TPM Refugees”.

One question we asked Jonathan was how he viewed TPM20’s decision to cancel the conference at the last minute.

“Listen. They did the right thing. This was a Black Swan occurrence. They put the safety of the conference attendees first. They made the right call” he concluded.

People featured in this article

Jonathan Kempe is CEO at Verifai. If you’re looking for a smart, young company that does best-practice work in container security you should check them out. They’re obviously fast on their feet and committed.

Brian Glick is CEO at Chain.io. They bill themselves as “the logistics integration platform for 3PLs, digital forwarders, shippers, and SaaS providers. Check them out.

Peter Tirschwell is Vice President, Maritime & Trade, IHS Markit. He oversees JOC. Chairman of TPM, he would have been the key person in making the hard, but responsible decision to cancel the TPM20 conference. If you aren’t already following Peter on Twitter then you should.

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