The EPCA’s 32nd Logistics Meeting was held at the Hotel InterContinental in Berlin on 22-26 October 2005. Welcoming delegates, the EPCA Logistics Committee Chairman, Denis Tual of Arkema, said that this was an historical EPCA Logistics Meeting, as it was to be the last standalone Logistics Meeting in the series. From 2006 onwards EPCA is combining its Annual and Logistics Meetings into a single, annual event. The new approach has been adopted in response to the wishes of the EPCA members attending these meetings, and the first of the new amalgamated EPCA events will be held in Monaco in September 2006. There will be two days of conference proceedings at the meeting, the first focusing on issues impacting the whole chemical business and the second devoted to supply chain management. In addition to the conference sessions, there will be plenty of opportunity for chemical producers to network with Logistics Service Providers (LSP’s).
Denis Tual reported that there were 380 registered delegates at the 32nd Logistics Meeting, an attendance which was greater than that recorded in 2004 and one which included representatives from 40 chemical producer companies. He told delegates that this year’s meeting would focus on efforts underway to develop a road map detailing the route towards an optimised logistics performance of the European chemical industry.
Denis Tual said that in developing the theme of this year’s Logistics Meeting, the panellists on the second day would report on the progress made over the past year by the joint EPCA/European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) Think Tank which has been considering excellence in the supply chain. This has been a major undertaking and good progress has been made over the past 12 months by four separate Think Tank working groups investigating key aspects of supply chain optimisation.
Denis Tual explained to delegates that the first day’s proceedings at the 32nd EPCA Logistics Meeting - with presentations from a senior officer of a major European petrochemical company and a leading economist - would set the stage for the second day working group progress reports. The EPCA Logistics Committee Chairman then handed proceedings over to Michael Buerk of the BBC, in whose capable hands the task of moderating the Association’s Annual and Logistics Meetings has now rested for the past 12 years.
Michael Buerk said that he had come to appreciate the inherent strengths of the European chemical industry over the period of his association with EPCA. It is an industry directly employing 3 million people, he said, and one responsible for one-half of Europe’s manufacturing trade surplus. However, he sensed the foreboding about the longer term prospects for the industry amongst many EPCA delegates in the face of strengthening global competition, stagnating markets, regulatory constraints and rising costs.
Michael Buerk said that it was a particularly appropriate time to focus on the theme of determining the most appropriate way to maximise supply chain performance. The first day’s speakers would not only look at the role of logistics in a changing European market but also outline the direction in which this market, and hence the chemical industry, is headed.