On 15th-16th May 2012, ECG held its 17th Spring Congress and General Assembly in a unique setting. Over 150 member-company representatives and guests took part in the event held on board of DFDS vessel the Pearl Seaways sailing from Oslo to Copenhagen.
The first day started with the Board Meeting followed by the statutory General Assembly. The ‘members only’ session began with the President’s welcome speech, followed by the treasurer’s report and voting to accept the accounts, the budget and the revised Articles of Association. The open session commenced with the President’s Activity Report followed by the traditional Golden Pin award to several outgoing Board members: Eduardo Estevez (Bergé), Veli-Matti Parssinen (Autolink) and Ilhan Cetinkaya (ILCE), for their outstanding services to the association as Board members. The General Assembly continued with a series of interactive presentations from the Board Members (supported by the ECG Secretariat) responsible for the following ECG Working Groups: Maritime & Ports, Land Transport, Quality, Eastern European Region, UK & Ireland Region, EU Affairs and Education & Training. They reported on their activities of the last year and mentioned future projects, while interactive questions using a state-of-the-art IT system kept the members closely involved. The session ended with the re-election of the President and Vice-President and election of the Board (see Press Release below) for the coming year, and the day culminated with a networking dinner during which ECG proudly announced another 18 industry managers graduating from the 6th course of the ECG Academy. All had been awarded a Certificate in Automobile Logistics Management by the European Business School and the top student received the Giovanni Paci Award.
The Spring Congress itself took place on the second day and was opened by ECG President Costantino Baldissara followed by Executive Director Mike Sturgeon, acting as moderator throughout the congress, with a comprehensive overview of all the latest developments within ECG. The first morning session continued with a selection of results from the latest ECG Confidence & Cost Trend Quarterly Survey presented by ECG’s EU Affairs Manager Tom Antonissen.
Jim Zamjahn Programme Manager - Supply Chain at the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG), gave his view on the US market. He highlighted specific projects including vehicle transportation damage guidelines, finished vehicle visibility and two supply security programmes: Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, or C-TPAT, and Canada’s Partners in Protection, or PIP.
Sascha Heiden, Senior Analyst at IHS Automotive in Frankfurt, presented an extensive report on the sales and production outlook for European light vehicles. The dangers posed by the EU’s sovereign debt crisis and volatile oil prices remained the main worry, and the prognosis showed positive signs for Russia and Central Europe which will continue to recover economically, and growth in emerging markets to maintain the production and export volume from Europe. The congress ended with a roundtable discussion featuring prominent “EU speakers”: two Danish Members of the European Parliament: MEP Anna Rosbach (Conservative member of the Environment and Transport Committees) and MEP Anne Jensen (Liberal member of the Budget Committee) as well as the European Commission DG MOVE’s Head of Unit for Maritime Transport and Logistics - Magda Kopczynska. Among the topics put to the panel by selected ECG members were: the introduction of tougher sulphur limits in marine fuel and its impact on the industry, driver security (availability of secure parking), cabotage, intermodality, EU budget (2014-2020) and transport funding for a core trans-European network (TEN-T). MEP Jensen defended the issue of driver security and the need to establish a network of secure parking locations on major road arteries. MEP Rosbach made it clear that the new sulphur limits will become a reality despite an apparent lack of a preliminary Impact Assessment while Magda Kopczynska tackled the increasing importance of transport in the EU economy proven by the thriving TEN-T funding programme and proposal. As one of the intervening ECG speakers, Peder Gellert Pedersen, Executive Vice President and Head of Shipping at hosts DFDS Seaways gave an impressive presentation on the current state of maritime affairs, revealing his company’s endeavours to improve the environmental sustainability of its fleet while planning to address the challenges raised by the new sulphur limits.
In their concluding remarks, the representatives of the European institutions encouraged the dialogue with ECG as well with individual members. Specifically, they urged companies to respond individually to EC public consultations (alongside ECG’s contributions) as they are used to obtain an insight into the industry’s views on particular issues, while such individual responses will also support ECG’s representational activities in Brussels. In his closing remarks, Costantino Baldissara highlighted through examples the ‘de facto’ (economic) situation of the vehicle logistics industry. He emphasised the need for a smooth and well organised change, so as not to compromise the existing jobs and economic recovery. He also encouraged an ever more pro-active attitude of the members as ECG’s effectiveness derives from the unity and energy of its united membership.
For further information see below:
The press release can be found under the “Media - Press Release” section or click on: soaring costs hammer Europe's LSPs
For the extensive press coverage of the ECG Spring Congress and General Assembly, please click on: ECG in the News