Photo courtesy of Mid-America Trucking Show

Photo courtesy of Mid-America Trucking Show

The Mid-America Trucking Show will be held from March 31-April 2, at the Kentucky Expo Center in Louisville, Ky., with several new features this year even as truck makers skip this year's show.

MATS is the largest annual heavy-duty trucking industry event in the country, bringing in more than 70,000 attendees and over 1,000 exhibitors showcasing the latest products and services, according to show organizers.

For attendees, there are panels and other opportunities to learn about current topics affecting the trucking industry. The event also provides an opportunity for members of the industry to meet and network.

MATS is host to a wide variety of special events and educational seminars for industry members.

The day before the show opens, the Fleet Forum will be produced and hosted by Heavy Duty Trucking and Fleet Owner on March 30. As part of a full afternoon program, HDT's 2016 Truck Fleet Innovators will be officially honored for the award and participate in a panel discussion. Other sessions will cover the connected truck and making sense of confusing economic numbers.

Every day, there will be discussions and seminars given by fleets and industry associations on several topics related to business, regulations, safety, and health. These include a public listening session given by the FMCSA on the potential benefits and feasibility of voluntary compliance and ways to credit carriers and drivers who initiate and establish programs that promote safety beyond the standards established in FMCSA regulations. The FMCSA will also host a seminar on electronic logging devices and coercion hosted by Danielle Smith and LaTonya Mimms.

VDO RoadLog will host a discussion on ELDs allowing show goers a chance to interact with experts that have worked with enforcement government agencies as well as truck drivers. Also at MATS, Shell will hold a seminar on the new diesel engine oil categories, CK-4 and FA-4 while Chevron will also hold a session on the PC-11 category.

The 27th annual PKY Truck Beauty Championship will feature a large grouping of show trucks vying for honors in the beauty competition in Lot J behind the west wing of the Expo Center.

Craig Morgan will headline the free Mobil Delvac Driver Appreciation concert with songs from his albums spanning 15 years in country music and television. Morgan is best known for his signature top-10 hits: “Bonfire,” “Almost Home,” “Redneck Yacht Club,” “Love Remembers,” “That’s What I Love About Sunday,” and “International Harvester.”

There is also a 1.2-million-square-foot exhibition space with over 1,000 exhibitors this year.

The exhibit will have a different look than in years past, as Daimler Trucks North America, Kenworth, Navistar, Peterbilt, Mack, Volvo and Cummins have all pulled out of this year’s event in favor of an every-other-year appearance. MATS organizers addressed the exodus, lamenting the loss of the major OEMs but vowing to adapt. All of the OEMs have said that they will return in 2017.

In place of the individual manufacturers holding booths, the show floor will host the Truck Dealer Showcase where new model trucks from all major OEMs will still be on display for showgoers to view and interact with.

“There’s a silver lining in this, and it’s that they still believe in the show,” said Toby Young, head of Exhibit Management Associates, the event’s owner. “They want to be here in 2017, and I think they’ll be assessing the damage by not being here in 2016.”

Whatever happens this year, Heavy Duty Trucking will deliver the latest news, analysis and photos from the show floor, including any new product announcements from manufacturers and suppliers.

For complete information on the event including announcements and schedules, go to the Mid-America Trucking Show Website.