The EPCA's 28th Logistics Meeting was held in the new German capital of Berlin on 27-31 October 2001. Opening proceedings, EPCA Logistics Committee Chairman Paul Evertse of ExxonMobil stated that this year's event marked a return to the Hotel Inter·Continental venue, the 1992 Logistics Meeting having been held in Germany's largest city during that exciting period following the collapse of the Former Soviet Union and the dismantling of the Berlin Wall. Despite the uncertainties brought about by the terrorist attacks in the US on September 11, the attendance figure for this year's Logistics Meeting was a 410 registered delegates and 480 persons overall present at the event.
Although down somewhat on the record level of last year, this was comparable to attendances in the years immediately prior to 2000 and provided a measure of the strong support given by the EPCA membership to the Logistics Meeting as the leading chemical logistics event in Europe. Paul Evertse announced three new appointments to the Logistics Committee, brought about by the retirements of Philippe Deroisy (CEFIC) and Wolfgang Dubiel (BASF) and the departure, after 10 years on the Committee, of Alan Halfpenny.
The new members are Phillip Browitt (Agility Logistics), Jos Verlinden (CEFIC) and Joachim Prengel (BASF). Paul said he would be standing down as Chairman at the end of the Berlin meeting, although he will remain on the Logistics Committee. His place will be taken by Niels von Hombracht of Vopak NV. The Chairman also said that EPCA will continue to sponsor postgraduate projects related to chemical logistics, and that the Association is assisting with scholarships for eight students at Eindhoven and Stanford Universities engaged in a joint programme investigating the optimisation of bulk chemical logistics.
Also, following successful meetings in Prague and Krakow in recent years, EPCA plans to hold another Eastern European logistics seminar in order to share knowledge of industry best practices in preparation for enlargement of the European Union. The next meeting has tentatively been set for early 2003 in Budapest. Paul Evertse introduced the theme of the meeting - "Moving Chemicals: Urgent Need for Further Progress!" - as one to stimulate the thought processes. Despite the good progress that has been made over the past decade, everyone engaged in the movement of chemicals would agree that there is still great scope for further improvements. The changing nature of the chemical industry is also prompting a reappraisal of the role of logistics service providers. Two transport modes - sea and rail - were targeted for particular attention at the 28th Logistics Meeting. In handing over proceedings to Michael Buerk, the BBC TV news anchorman, Paul Evertse said that there is probably no better moderator for focusing the attention of the meeting's participants on the key issues, crystallising the various industry views and engaging speakers on the most appropriate routes to resolution of these issues.