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FTA’s Chris Welsh appointed Secretary General of GSF

The Freight Transport Association’s Chris Welsh has been appointed Secretary General of the Global Shippers’ Forum (GSF), and FTA is also to provide the GSF’s secretariat, effective from 1 July 2011.

Following a successful meeting of the International Transport Forum (ITF) in Leipzig, Germany, the GSF also announced that it has been incorporated under the laws of the United Kingdom. The decision fundamentally transforms the GSF from an informal alliance of shippers into a better organised, co-ordinated and consistent global voice for shippers on key issues impacting global transport.

Announcing the action, Chris Welsh said: "With this reorganisation of the GSF as a not-for-profit corporation in the United Kingdom now fully resolved, our first order of business will be to seek recognition and accreditation as a ‘non-governmental organisation’.

"With international NGO status in hand, we will be able to more fully participate in the key international bodies where decisions are taken which impact shippers everywhere like IMO, ICAO, ILO and World Customs Organisation. We are especially pleased with the enthusiastic reception we have received from governments and other participants and NGOs gathered here for the ITF meeting."

Founding board members of the GSF are: James Hookham, Managing Director of Policy and Communications of the UK Freight Transport Association; Bob Ballantyne, President of the Canadian Industrial Transportation Association; John Lu, Chairman of the Asian Shippers’ Council, and Bruce Carlton, President and CEO of The National Industrial Transportation League.

Bob Ballantyne noted that: "Each of the GSF member associations has its own unique history, purpose and mission and is well known and established in its respective geographic area. As members of the GSF we will be squarely focused on global ocean, air freight and trade procedural matters. National and international laws and regulations governing transportation have evolved considerably over the past several decades, but important issues remain to be resolved."

John Lu said: "The GSF has a special interest in competitive ocean freight transportation. We of course endorsed the EU’s termination of their block exemption of the shipping industry from their competition laws, and we seek similar action in Asia and the United States. In fact, freely competitive markets in all modes of transport are at the top of our agenda."

James Hookham added: "GSF members are firmly pledged to sustaining the highest levels of safety and security in freight transport, and advancing environmental sustainability in this vital industry. Shippers bring extraordinary knowledge and experience to the international dialogue on these and other issues, and we look forward to continuing our partnerships with carriers and the international organisations that set the rules for all."

Bruce Carlton concluded: "The ‘bottom line’ for the GSF is in fact the bottom line: shippers pay the bill in all modes of transportation. Decisions made by carriers, governments and international and intergovernmental organisations on the environment, safety, security and underlying competitive framework will have a direct impact on shippers’ balance sheets and income statements. We represent good corporate citizens dedicated to performing according to industry’s best practices, with informed and appropriate regulation and minimal direct government intervention. The best way to achieve these outcomes is freely competitive markets, for carriers and shippers alike."

The first major event for the GSF is its inaugural Annual General Meeting which the NITL is proud to host at its Annual Meeting in Atlanta USA on 15-17 November 2011.

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