GFG Unite in Budapest…




“Budapest is famous for the Danube river that divides the city in two but the Global Freight Group conference in Budapest was all about uniting …

GFG Group Administrator, Rachel Marchant, reports on the conference in Budapest, 10 – 13 October 2010


GFG Unites in Budapest…

Budapest offered the perfect location for members to hold their first annual meeting in Europe since 2004. Even the weather seemed to invite members to the city, with mainly blue skies and sunshine, despite the cold. The city looked its best and brought to life Budapest’s beautiful sights.

The Intercontinental Hotel, set on the banks of the river Buda, hosted the GFG’s conference, offering fantastic views over the river to Buda’s castle, along the river to the Chain Bridge and much more. Those members lucky enough to secure a river view room no doubt wished they could spend a little more time looking out of the window. However, with a full complement of members, there was plenty of work to be done.

GFGBuda2 GFGBuda1

Streets with surprises in store…

As usual the Directors’ met for dinner to catch up before their day long meeting on Sunday. On this occasion, we walked along Pest’s maze of narrow streets towards Tom George Italian Restaurant. As we approached, light leaked from a street to the right… upon peering around the corner the full glory of the illuminated St Stephen’s Basilica lay before us. Quite a surprise and delight, to say the least. After such a sight, the restaurant had a lot to live up to, but it succeeded with plate after plate of culinary sensations. Our Italian President gave her seal of approval to the Italian cuisine – enough said!


No distractions for the Directors’ Meeting…


The Directors’ meeting room was flooded with sunshine as they settled down to work through the full agenda. The agenda prompted in depth discussions about the status of some members: mostly in a positive manner.

Since it is the Directors’ role to ensure only strong, reliable companies are members, every member development is reviewed. On this occasion, most developments were of a positive nature. Breaking only for lunch, with a chance to admire the view from the riverside restaurant of the hotel, discussions continued into the afternoon.



Meeting friends, old and new…


As members from far and wide met each other again at the GFG’s Cocktail Party, the atmosphere and chatter grew to a crescendo of impressive social standards. Some members meet but once a year at the mandatory Fall conference, whereas the diligent also attend the optional spring meetings in the USA. Either way, there was clearly a lot of news to catch up on.

Unlike many other freight networks, the GFG’s exclusivity ensures that no-one is merely another face from yet another agent for an already over subscribed territory. The GFG members have the security of knowing exactly who they are dealing witth, having built up personal relationships over as long as 17 years in some cases. This is the origin of the group’s alias, the Global Friends Group.

GFGBuda9 GFGBuda10
GFG members meet for cocktails and canapes, sharing jokes and friendship.



General Assembly matters…

As the name would suggest, the General Assembly brings all members together to catch up on group matters. Any issues raised by members or the Board of Directors are addressed during this meeting. The Directors also relay the outcome of their discussions from the previous day.

The meeting is chaired by the President, Marina Marzani, with assistance and input from the Directors and Group Administrator.

GFGBuda16   GFGBuda15

The GFG photograph has become customary, wherever there is sufficient space to assemble, and this year members gathered before lunch for the occasion.



Sales Meetings – getting down to serious business…

With over 50 member companies present and more than 750 meetings requested, the sales meetings days are always a hectic time. Some members split their staff into tag teams in order to cover more business, especially if you have requested 52 meetings and there are only 30 time slots!

With the Budapest conference being the first European conference since 2004, it was not surprising that several European members too advantage of the proximity and brought several staff. It was excellent to see such a strong turn out from the European members. Globe Cargo brought 3 extra staff from their German offices and Airfarm from Spain were represented by a total of 5 people.

          GFGBuda21 GFGBuda22  
          GFGBuda23 GFGBuda28  

Tuesday is GFG T-Shirt Day…

Tuesday saw a full day committed to sales meetings, with members showing their unity by supporting the traditional GFG T-Shirt Day. At each Fall conference, GFG T-shirts are produced as momentos of the meeting, with local emblems sharing space with the GFG logo. In Budapest, there was a swathe of white shirts present in the meeting rooms and during the lunch.

          GFGBuda51 GFGBuda46  



Members are Spoon – Fed on the River …

The official conference events are rounded off with a Gala dinner whereby all members can relax and simply enjoy each other’s company in pleasant surroundings.

Budapest offered a superb setting on the Danube, aboard the Spoon Restaurant, only a minute’s walk from the conference hotel, the Intercontinental.

With gentle piano music accompanying the evening members ate, drank and were merry with wonderful views of Buda Castle illuminated in the background.

  GFGBuda106 GFGBuda77  
  GFGBuda56 GFGBuda57  
  GFGBuda58 GFGBuda61  
  GFGBuda62 GFGBuda75  

The GFG’s President, Marina Marzani, also distributed the GFG’s our annual awards, which included the Operator of the Year (won by Helka Global Logistics Limited), the President’s Award (won by Ken Hamanaka Co., Inc.) and recognition of thanks for Romas Krilavicius’s input as a Director.

GFGBuda67   GFGBuda73   GFGBuda68
Sharon Ki receives two Operator of the Year awards on behalf of Helka Global Logistics staff, Mariana Law and Anthony Choi.  

Brigit Hamanaka and Ole Skaaning accept the President’s Award for Ken Hamanaka Co., Inc.


Romas Krilavicius of Rutherford Global Logistics receives his award.


And so, the conference drew to a close. A strong turn out of members provided a fruitful business event in a wonderful location.

Next stop Atlanta, USA in April 2011…