MODEX 2012, sponsored by the Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA), takes place Feb. 6-9, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

The show will feature manufacturing, distribution and supply chain tools, and will offer learning opportunities and information. More than 500 exhibitors from industry, commerce and government will display their supply chain efficiency solutions on the 150,000-net-square-foot show floor.

To make it easy for attendees to find the problem-solving tools they need, the MODEX show floor is divided into three solution-specific centers: manufacturing and assembly solutions, fulfillment and delivery solutions, and information technology solutions.

An educational conference will run concurrently with the show and include sessions on improving operational efficiencies and visibility in manufacturing, distribution and the overall supply chain. The format allows attendees to learn about various manufacturing, distribution and supply chain solutions in the educational sessions, and then see the equipment, systems and services that can implement those solutions.

Attendees will include manufacturing, distribution and supply chain professionals from the U.S., Canada, Mexico and 80 other countries. At the show, they will find efficiency, visibility and cost-cutting tools for their manufacturing and supply chain operations.

Several government-related sessions are on tap for MODEX 2012, including

MODEX Keynote — The Expansion of the Panama Canal and its Impact on Supply Chains and Global Trade.

Speaker: Alberto Alemán Zubieta, Chief Executive Officer, Panama Canal Authority

Scheduled for completion in 2014, the expansion of the Panama Canal is certain to change global freight movement and open up new opportunities, but precisely how is yet to be determined. By allowing much bigger container ships and other cargo vessels to easily reach the Eastern United States, the wider canal will alter patterns of trade and is already providing incentives to East and Gulf Coast ports to deepen harbors and expand cargo-handling facilities. The end result should be faster and cheaper shipping of some goods between the United States and Asia. During this keynote, Panama Canal Authority CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta will detail how the infrastructure improvements will benefit importers and exporters, and explain how attendees can prepare for the impact of this supply chain game-changer on their operations.

Topic: What’s New In The National Export Initiative

Speaker: Padraic J. Sweeney, International Trade Specialist, Office of Transportation and Machinery, U.S. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration

The material handling, logistics and supply chain industries contribute to U.S. capital equipment exports and employment. The National Export Initiative (NEI) is a presidential-led, government-wide strategy to expand opportunities, reduce barriers, and promote strong, sustainable and balanced economic growth. In this session, Padraic Sweeney will detail how companies can benefit from exporting their products/services and assistance available to them via the NEI. The speaker will discuss market research, export financing, foreign government regulations and business climate, and competition from foreign companies.

Topic: Manual Materials Handling Workshop: Engineered Solutions for Manual Handling Jobs

The Ergonomic Assist Systems and Equipment Council of MHIA will stage a workshop with the federal National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health called “Engineered Solutions for Manual Handling Jobs” that will be collocated with MODEX 2012. The workshop will focus on developing engineering solutions for manual materials handling jobs in retail, wholesale and warehousing industries.