GFG Conference coincides with Lisbon celebrations

Lisbon Conference News
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LISBON, PORTUGAL – SPRING 2004

 

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Lisbon Castle Square RM

 

Lisbon welcomes the Global Freight Group with parades …?

GFG Secretary Rachel Marchant reports on events at the Lisbon conference, 25 – 28 April 2004

The delegates at the GFG Lisbon conference may have noticed a certain amount of excitement as they arrived in Lisbon on Sunday 25th April 2004, however this was not directly related to the arrival of the GFG members. Alas!

Actually, their conference happened to coincide with Portugal’s National Independence Day, 25th April, after which the famous bridge across the Rio Tejo was named. The celebrations along the Avenida de Liberdade included music, processions and even fly-pasts by fighter planes, the latter being heard at close range by the GFG Directors as they held their meeting on the top floor of the Altis Hotel.

Cocktails and canapes – flowers and friends

The GFG conference always tries to strike a balance between social and working events and so, as is customary, the welcoming Cocktail Party on Sunday evening brought all the GFG members together for the first event. It was a chance to catch up with each other’s news, renew old friendships and welcome new members. Including the 13 partners and family members, there were 85 guests at the party.

ATS2 (Portugal) and ATS (Angola) were the Global Freight Group’s local hosts for the event and welcomed each member personally to the conference and to their country. They also presented each member with a huge exotic flower, shipped specially from Sao Tome.

General Assembly – New and Advancing Members

Monday morning brought the start of the business side of the conference in the form of the General Assembly.

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GFG Delegates in Lisbon

The General Assembly is the forum in which the Directors and membes can discuss and review group matters. Amongst the matters raised, membership status is one. On this occasion three Observer members advanced, by means of a membership ballot, to Aspirant members. Three members also advanced from Aspirant to Full Members. The Global Freight Group membership also welcomed new members from Ukraine, Chicago USA, Greece and United Arab Emirates.

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Despite the fact that the Spring meeting was not the main meeting, there was a good turnout of almost 70 delegates, with an extra 5 attending for the sales meetings in the afternoon and during Tuesday.

Just over 220 sales meetings were scheduled for Monday afternoon alone and the meeting room was a hive of talk and activity. These meetings are the truly beneficial aspect of the conference for the members. By travelling to only one location, they can meet over 50 companies, sharing their knowledge of the business, learning about new markets around the world and generally making the most of the wealth of skills present at one venue.

Food and Fado...

Of course, one can’t work all day and night so, after work, the members had earned a relaxing evening at a Fado restaurant. The large group almost filled the entire Clube de Fado. It was an evening of good food, great company and beautiful, soulful traditional music and singing to keep everyone happy and entertained.

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Business on Tuesday certainly seemed to be more leisurely for most members. There were over 250 meetings scheduled over the day’s sessions, however it was apparent that many members had brought these meetings forward and got business out of the way in good time. By early afternoon, the meeting room was eerily quiet but I’m sure the streets of Lisbon were full of the GFG truants!

From Fado to Opera…Lisbon was certainly a musical location.

The GFG closing dinner was held at the Restaurante a Comenda in the Centro Cultural de Belem. Champagne cocktails and canapes were served overlooking the Rio Tejo and the famous Explorers sculpture. It was a beautiful setting.
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The party gradually moved into the restaurant with its unusual arches and ceilings. It was clear that the arches lent themselves well to the accoustics for the songs that were to come later. Between the courses, talented singers performed a variety of songs from operatic and musical productions. There was a song to suit most people’s tastes.

Excursions to the countryside…

On Wednesday morning a small minibus set off full of GFG members to go exploring the area around Lisbon, namely Obidos, Nazare and Batalha

The three locations visited were very different but equally rewarding: Obidos fulfilled its promise of being one of the most beautiful villages in Portugal, even without sunshine; Nazare offered fantastic views of the coastline from the Sitio atop the cliffs and Batalha was a truly impressive monastery.

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