Transfrigoroute International (TI) held its Annual General Meeting on 13th and 14th October in London under the theme ‘Keep Cool Drive Growth - The critical role of temperature controlled transport in the European supply chain’.
Attended by over 150 temperature-controlled transport and logistics professionals from 14 different countries, this year’s AGM also marked the first high-level meeting of the refrigerated transport sector after the Brexit vote.
Transfrigoroute UK, now part of the Food Storage & Distribution Federation (FSDF) – the UK trade association that represents the temperature-controlled storage and distribution industry – hosted this year’s event at the Royal Garden Hotel in London, supported by the European Cold Storage and Logistics Association (ECSLA).
The conference, which attracted sponsorship from industry heavyweights such as Thermo King Frigoblock, Carrier Transicold, Montracon and Krone explored the many challenges facing the industry at this unprecedented time, addressing how the UK’s exit from the EU is likely to affect the future of food logistics with expert speakers examining potential changes in legislation, regulation and technology.
Chris Sturman, CEO of the FSDF, commented: “It was an honour to host this year’s TI conference and AGM in the UK and a great pleasure to welcome our many colleagues from across Europe, to London.
"Much of the debate inevitably focused on the likely impact of Brexit, and with 29% of our total food consumption coming from other EU partners, it is essential, that here in the UK, we are engaged with our European colleagues to ensure any potential ramifications are clearly understood by business and politicians alike.
"The FSDF, through our relationships with Government and key stakeholders, will do everything possible to maintain confidence and minimise adverse any affects on the UK supply chain as a result of new trade arrangements."
Gathering 150 professionals and high-level stakeholders from across the industrial, political and scientific sectors, participants of the TI AGM were able to hear different and complementary perspectives about the implications of Brexit for the refrigerated transport sector both at UK and EU level. Professor John Manners-Bell, Transport Intelligence, notably shared his insightful views on the complex impact of Brexit on the food supply chain.
During his keynote speech, Lord Teverson, Member of the House of Lords and former Member of the European Parliament, also added that “a bumpy road lies ahead” but “no one can really know what implications Brexit will have on the industry”. He however welcomed the European Heating & Cooling Strategy, stating that "at last, cooling is mentioned at EU level and seen as an important part of the EU’s energy policy".
One of the other key issues faced by the industry at EU and national level highlighted during the event was the need to ensure the sustainability of the refrigerated road transport sector. Both David O’Gorman, Trailer Product Manager at Thermoking Frigoblock and Peter de Cock, Key Account Manager at Shell Nederland, shared inspiring best practices on how companies are using technological innovation to reduce their environmental footprint and ensure a sustainable energy transition.
Speakers also addressed other challenges encountered in the UK such as an increased shortage of drivers highlighted by Nick Denton, Traffic Commissioner for London and the south east.
To continue highlighting the industry’s innovations, Alan White from Fresh Logistics, Russell Cowley from Clan International, and Dean Attwell from Oakland International presented three different case studies on SMEs’ strategies to maximise growth through cold chain management.
Stating that “roads are key to freight”, Ian Wainwright from Transport For London (TFL), the local government body responsible for the transport system in Greater London, also commented on London’s efforts to tackle CO2 emissions from trucks by creating an efficient transport system of goods and services within the city.
Prof. Dr. Schmidt from Bundesverband Güterkraftverkehr Logistik und Entsorgung (BGL) also presented a “Trusted Carrier Programme” currently running in Germany, which aims to ensure there is better security in the supply chain and to minimise the risk of cargo theft at the loading place. He added that this initiative is beneficial for carriers as well as customers and that it should be internationalised.
The two-day conference ended with the delegate assembly and the election of the executive committee for 2017-2020. The newly elected leadership team consists of:
- Willem Zonnevijlle as TI President
- Didier Michel as Vice-President and President of the FCI Board
- André Stumpf as EC Vice-President and President of the CCT Management Committee
- Eric Forestier as Vice-President and Treasurer
- Hubertus Kobernus, Carlos Donat and Igor Skutil as members of the Executive Committee
President of TI Willem Zonnevijlle concluded the event: “Today’s discussions have proven that although uncertainty will be challenging to overcome by the industry, the future of the temperature-controlled road transport in Europe will be thriving as new technologies grow. It is now our role, as an association, to ensure that we reap all the benefits brought by these opportunities.”