**E-Commerce Draws Record Attendance, Growing Interest at Fulfillment Show

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CHICAGO -- The 4th annual Parcel Logistics Expo opened here yesterday to record first-day crowds, accenting the growing attention that fulfillment processes are receiving because of e-commerce.


The convention expects to attract more than 1,300 attendees, not counting exhibitors, speakers and press, during the three-day event that ends tomorrow, according to Joel Dunkel, group show manager. The expected attendance is up more than 200 attendees from last year, he said, and is a key reason the convention will move to the larger McCormack Convention Center in downtown Chicago for next year's show.


Dunkel pointed out his convention's new special exhibit hall, called the E-fulfillment Technology Center, as an example of how the Internet has boosted the show and the industry.


"None of those companies used to be with us, and now they are," he said.


In addition, Dunkel said, the convention added the word "logistics" to its name to better situate itself with the expanding technical marketplace that e-fulfillment has spawned.


In similar fashion to comments made at last April's National Conference on Operations & Fulfillment in Orlando, FL, convention attendees here were saying that back-end processes could no longer be considered less important than sexier marketing worries such as ad campaigns.


"We were once the nerds of global commerce," said Calvin Darden, senior vice president of U.S. operations at United Parcel Service, during his keynote luncheon address. "My, how things have changed."
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