HRH The Princess Royal opens IFWLA Convention in Liverpool

This week, HRH The Princess Royal officially opened the conference of the prestigious Annual Convention of the International Federation of Warehousing Logistics Associations (IFWLA) at the Town Hall in Liverpool, Merseyside.

During the visit, Her Royal Highness met representatives from the UK and global logistics community, including the IFWLA’s President, Derrick Potter and Secretary General Roger Williams, as well as Tony Mohan and Peter Ward, respectively Chairman and new CEO of UKWA (United Kingdom Warehouse Association), hosts for the 2015 event.

The Princess is patron of Transaid, UKWA’s official charity, and was invited to the conference by Gary Forster, Transaid Chief Executive, in recognition of the tremendous support the charity continues to receive from IFWLA, UKWA and the wider transport & logistics industry. 

In her address to delegates at the conference, the Princess remarked that Liverpool has historically been a very important port for the UK and is rebuilding for the future. She went on to highlight the importance of the logistics industry, saying there is no company – whether in retail, wholesale or manufacturing operations “ able to survive profitably without an efficient supply chain.

Her Royal Highness added that international meetings such as the Annual International Convention offer huge value “ fostering better understanding of the political, social and cultural environments of other countries, which is vitally important when doing business in a global market.

The Princess then explained how Transaid came into being to support aid agencies in their development work. She highlighted its impact in making delivery much more efficient and better appreciated among the aid agencies – its training programme has significantly increased the welfare and safety of logistics sectors in many countries. The Princess told the conference, that their continued engagement with the charity has made a real and valued difference.

With strong support from the UK logistics and transport industry, Transaid has helped to improve training standards with two training facilities in Zambia and Tanzania focusing on heavy goods vehicle and bus & coach driver training. It has also trained more than 150 forklift truck drivers. The Princess highlighted that there is no such thing as an unskilled job “ this is especially true in transport and logistics.

Wishing the conference well, the Princess urged delegates to enjoy their time in Liverpool and thanked UKWA and IFWLA for its consistent support for Transaid.

Derrick Potter, President of IFWLA, then presented a cheque from UKWA for £12,000 to Her Royal Highness to pass on to the charity.

As part of her visit, The Princess also met Patricia Smedley and Andrew Page, inventors of the educational logistics board game, Business on the Move, and watched pupils and teachers from West Derby School and Maghull High School compete.

After the departure of The Princess Royal, the IFWLA conference, attended by over 150 delegates, proceeded to hear a series of presentations on the theme ‘Challenge Equals Opportunity’ delivered by speakers from some of the leading lights of the industry.

Among the presenters was Eleanor Winton, head of KPMG’s Future Institute, who gave the keynote speech and told delegates ‘Change is the new normal. Get used to it!’ Other highlights included; Zara Giles of Peel Ports, who said that Liverpool 2 will rebalance logistics in the UK; John Munnelly, of John Lewis, who introduced the retailer’s new sales assistants in online world – pickers, packers and delivery drivers and Graeme Undy of Eddie Stobart, who told delegates that he sees multi-purpose, multi-user, multi-modal facilities the way forward to meet changing consumer patterns. Kevin Mofid of Savill’s provoked lively debate as he warned of an increasing shortage of ‘fit for purpose’ property nationwide and James Hyde of James & James challenged the logistics industry to look to the e-commerce sector for software solutions to serve customers on a worldwide platform.

Moderating the conference, were Peter Ward, Logistician of The Year Bernard Molloy and Supply Chain guru Mark Millar, who flew in from Hong Kong to take part and launch his latest book, ‘Global Supply Chain Ecosystems’ at the event.

Commenting on the event, UKWA CEO Peter Ward said, Each year the IFWLA Convention is held at different cities across the world. This year it was the turn of the UK to host this global event. Liverpool was an easy choice for us to make, with its impressive heritage of shipping and trade; the Town Hall venue was magnificent and the visit by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal was an absolute honour, highly appreciated by UK delegates and our distinguished international guests alike. We are grateful to our speakers and sponsors, as well as the delegates who made the 2015 event such a great success. A tweet from one delegate from Abbey Logistics sums it up nicely: ‘Congratulations to all ª#IFWLA2015 for a wonderful event all round’.

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