The European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) held its third Eastern European chemical logistics seminar in Budapest, Hungary on 3-4 April 2003. Like the previous successful meetings in Prague in June 1999 and Cracow in April 2001, the Budapest seminar was organised to enable meaningful and mutually beneficial dialogue between the chemical logistics industries of Western and Eastern Europe.
The following organisations cooperated with EPCA in the organisation of the event:
- the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC)
- the European Chemical Transport Association (ECTA)
- the International Road Transport Union (IRU)
- the European Commission, Energy and Transport Directorate (DG TREN)
- the Hungarian Chemical Industry Association (MAVESZ)
- the Hungarian Road Haulage Association (MKFE)
- the Hungarian State Railways (MAV)
The meeting had as its theme - “Sustainable Chemical Transport Logistics and Responsible Care Through Partnerships”.
In introducing proceedings, Mr Niels von Hombracht, a former board member of Vopak and Chairman of the EPCA Logistics Committee, said that sustainability is the key to the European chemical industry because it is dependent on scarce and limited resources and it is environmentally responsible. This commitment has been formalised in European Commission sustainability policies for the chemical and transport industries. Once enacted, they will drive innovation and competition for the next 10 years. It is important for chemical producers to work in partnership with their logistics service providers (LSPs) because the dialogue enables appreciation of each other’s position and yields optimum, mutually beneficial results.
Two of the key aims of the meeting were (a) to raise awareness amongst Eastern European chemical producers and transporters of the safety and quality systems employed in Western Europe to ensure the safe and efficient transport of chemicals, and (b) to update the industry on the measures being developed by the European Commission to create a Community-wide freight transport market which is fully liberalised, harmonised and integrated. The latter goal is particularly important for the 10 Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC) which have been accepted for European Union membership. These nations have aligned their freight transport policies with the European model as part of the accession process which comes to fruition for them in 2004 when they become EU members.
The Budapest seminar was attended by 115 delegates from Hungary and Western Europe. At the meeting the Hungarian representatives confirmed their full support of the regulatory regime governing chemical freight transport developed by the European Commission in Brussels. The Hungarian producers and logistics service providers (LSPs) also welcomed the opportunity to network with their counterparts from Western Europe, and to exchange ideas and practical experience.