Transfrigoroute International’s annual congress highlights the challenges faced by temperature-controlled road transport post-Brexit.
London, 14 October 2016 – 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’. This year’s AGM also marked the first high-level meeting of the refrigerated transport sector after Brexit.
Commenting on the relevance of this year’s AGM for the sector, TI President and President of Transfrigoroute Holland Willem Zonnevijlle said: “This year’s AGM is taking place in a particular political context as the European Union is currently facing one of its biggest crisis, since the UK is rethinking its membership of the EU. TI, as the only independent specialist umbrella association for the temperature-controlled road transport sector, will have to deal with increased political and economic uncertainty. However, I have no doubt that we will continue to unite and represent this vibrant industry, more committed to sustainable growth, employment and innovation than ever before.”
A challenging year ahead
Hosted by the Food Storage & Distribution Federation (FSDF) as well as Transfrigoroute UK and supported by the European Cold Storage and Logistics Association (ECSLA), the 2016 AGM gathered 150professionals and high-level stakeholders from across the industrial, political and scientific spheres. Participants 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 views on the complex impact of Brexit on the food supply chain.
During his keynote speech, Lord Robin 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, which was the Platinum Sponsor of the AGM, 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.
Other speakers also addressed challenges encountered in the UK such as an increased shortage of drivers (Nick Denton, Traffic Commissioner for London and the south east).
Refrigerated transport: a key pillar for the management of the cold chain
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 explained London’s efforts to tackle CO2 emissions from trucks by creating an efficient transport system of goods and services within the city.
Prof. Dr. Karlheinz Schmidt from Bundesverband Güterkraftverkehr Logistik und Entsorgung (BGL) also presented a “Trusted Carrier Programme” existing in Germany, which aims at ensuring more security in the supply chain and at minimizing the risk of cargo theft at the loading place. He added this initiative is beneficial for carriers as well as customers and should be internationalised.
A new leadership to drive the association forward
This year, the Association elected a new dynamic leadership team, which will steer it through the challenges lying ahead.
A minute of silence was also observed by participants to pay their respects to renowned trade journalist and industry expert, Bernard Giroud, who sadly passed away on 11 January 2016.
President of TI Willem Zonnevijlle concluded the event: “Today’s discussions have proven that although uncertainty will be challenging to 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”.
About the Annual General Meeting
The AGM took place on 13th and 14th October in the Royal Garden Hotel in London, concluding with a Gala Dinner in the Underglobe at the historical Shakespeare’s Globe theatre.
The event gathered over 150 participants from 14 different countries and the 11 national Transfrigoroute associations.
The 2017 AGM will take place in Spain.