Friday, April 10, 2009

ISTA Transport Packaging Forum Recap

by Rob Busse, CPP

This years Transport Packaging Forum (formerly known as the Dimensions Conference) was held at the JW Resort and Spa in Las Vegas. It was the second time that I have attended the event. Although the attendance was down approximately 30% (presumably because of the economy) I certainly recognized a few more faces this time around.

Overall, I thought the forum went very well. This conference is very technical in nature, so if that’s not your thing, then you would probably find it very difficult to keep from nodding off. Other than testing, the main themes of this year seemed to be sustainability and supply chain. Sustainability is obviously very relevant with the whole “green” push and with Walmart’s environmental goals for packaging. And developing packaging with the supply chain in mind is also very relevant since most companies are looking to reduce packaging cots in this day and age. Both sustainability and supply chain are some of Packaging Solutions’ main types of packaging projects over the past few years, so it was interesting to hear how other companies are tackling those issues as well.

Another particularly interesting presentation was given by Bill Armstrong (Sealed Air) and Dale Root (Lansmont Corp). They talked about “Project Leonardo”, which was the transport of a very unique dinosaur fossil from Malta, Montana to Houston, TX. The entirety of this project was filmed by the Discovery Channel. This project also utilized state of the art environmental recorders and GPS locating devices along with the video recording to make for a very impressive report that allows you to go and see with your own eyes the events that were recorded during the trip across the country.

See all the picture and video that you can handle at

It was interesting to note that almost all of the most intense events occurred when the 53 foot trailer went over bridges and overpasses due to unevenness, buckling, and gaps in the road. The fossil arrived in Houston unscathed and it was considered a huge success. Kudos to all parties involved in that project from paleontologists to the truck driver to the packaging experts!

The conference will return to the Coronado Springs Resort at Walt Disney World in Orlando next year from March 29-April 1. If your company isn’t under a travel freeze and you have room in your budget, you might want to go ahead and book your arrangements while you still can, hope to see you there!

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