GFG Conference enjoys the highlife… in the

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Seattle Conference News



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* GFG’s Tsunami Relief Fund

* the 10 year anniversary,

* history of the group

* and other articles

Updated: 21 January 2005
GFG 10 Yrs Lg 2 sm    

The sun shines in Seattle for the celebration of the Global Freight Group’s 10 year anniversary conference …

GFG Secretary Rachel Marchant reports on events at the Seattle conference, 29 August – 1 September 2004

The GFG’s Fall 2004 conference marked the group’s 10 year anniversary and was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Seattle. The hotel staff provided a professional yet friendly service and the hotel itself showed off its newly renovated interior and offered fabulous views over the city.

Over 75 delegates, some with partners, attended the conference, providing lots of opportunities for business and socialising. Michael Benjaminson of Robert E Landweer & Co, was the GFG ‘s resident host, sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm for Seattle generously amongst the GFG members.

Sunday brings work for the BOD and exploration for the members

The Board of Directors spent their Sunday deep in discussion about group matters. During their meeting they review and report on all GFG matters, including new members, Director elections, conference locations, finances and rules. During the afternoon, the Directors met with new members, on this occasion Hakan Forsell and Magnus Edjervall of InfraNordic Shipping & Forwarding, the GFG’s new member for Sweden.

Meanwhile, several of the GFG members were out exploring the delights of Seattle. Michael Benjaminson led the excursion which included a jaunt on the Duck Tour, a high altitude lunch in the Space Needle restaurant and a visit to the Music Project. After a long but enjoyable day the members arrived safely back at the hotel, with just enough time to recharge their energy levels before the first social gathering of the conference, the cocktail party.

With such pleasant weather the cocktail party was held in a marquee on the outdoor patio of the Crowne Plaza, where they were greeted by the GFG secretary and the Seattle host. While members partook of the punch, beer and canapes that were served, they mingled with long-term friends and caught up on each other’s news. The socialising certainly didn’t stop there as various groups of members headed out to dinner together to sample Seattle’s culinary delights and nightlife.

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General Assembly – business as usual

With social links re-established, the members met again on Monday morning for their first working session, the General Assembly.

During the General Assembly the Directors relayed the outcomes of their discussions the previous day and reported on the committee matters such as collections, membership and the Member to Member Liability Insurance Fund.

The Insurance Fund was set up to offer some protection to the GFG members against any member company who might leave the group while still owing sums of money. The Seattle General Assembly witnessed the announcement of the funds first pay-out of a claim. Fulvio D’Angelo, the committee Chairman, revealed the list of payments that the affected members would receive. On this occasion they received 31% of the amount that they had been owed. Full details of the procedure and amounts paid out can be seen in the new section dedicated to the Member to Member Liability Insurance. (Members only area)

Future conference plans were also discussed, relating to the group’s innovative new style of conference in Spring 2005, in Atlanta USA.

The members then welcomed two representatives from the new GFG member for Sweden, InfraNordic Shipping & Forwarding AB. Mr Hakan Forsell and Mr Magnus Ejdervall attended and Hakan made a presentation to introduce his company to the group members.

Voting News

The General Assembly is also the forum for voting amongst members. On this occasion it included the conference venue for Fall 2006, a new GFG Director, 3 Director re-elections and advancing memberships.

Firstly voting took place to decide the location for the Fall 2006 conference. Heneways of South Africa stood for nomination a 3rd time and were up against Freight Links of Sri Lanka. The members were spoilt for choice with each location offering unique possibilities. On this occasion South Africa won the vote so Cape Town will be welcoming GFG members in 2 years time.

Niral Kadwatharatchie of Freight Links also made news with the BOD’s invitation, and his subsequent acceptance, to join the GFG Board of Directors. Niral’s business acumen, knowledge of Asian markets, long-standing membership and commitment to the GFG are obvious reasons for him being a welcome addition to the Board.

The GFG President, Marina Marzani, explained that, after 3 terms in office, Dennis Smith and Fulvio D’Angelo had decided not to stand for re-election on the to GFG Board of Directors. Marina thanked them for their hard work and support.

Voting took place regarding the re-election of Directors Ilan Fidler, Brigit Hamanaka and Klaus Kehl. All were successfully re-elected for another two year term on the GFG BOD.

Voting regarding membership advancements resulted in Cargo Plan International (Dubai, UAE), Eric Cauchi S.A. (Greece) and Quast & Co (Chicago, USA) advancing from Aspirant to Full Member status. Congratulations go to each of these advancing members.

Unfortunately, discussions are not always positive and there was the need to assess the status of Pole Star in Bangladesh, Loyal Global Logistics in UAE and Advanced Shipping & Transport in Jordan. All these companies have been causing debt problems with ongoing but unfulfilled promises of payment. Action will be taken by the Board of Directors.

Monday afternoon and Tuesday were filled with over 500 sales meetings. This is where members really do appreciate the true benefit of attending such an event. With expenditure for only one business trip, they are able to meet up to 60 companies in one location, and in just one and a half days. The function rooms are a steady flow of exchanges and business discussions. The Tuesday meeting session saw a sea of navy shirts as nearly everyone followed tradition and wore the GFG polo shirt.

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GFG Delegates in Seattle

GFG Conference ends on a high note – dinner up in the Space Needle…

After much work, balanced with various social occasions, the conference drew to an end, with its closing dinner being held on the banquet level of Seattle’s Space Needle.

After dinner, the President, Marina Marzani, thanked the conference host, Michael Benjaminson and the GFG secretary, Rachel Marchant, for their organisation of the event . Marina then moved on to the awards presentation.

The Operator of the Year for 2004 was shared between the third time winner Mariana Law from Helka Express International and also Clem Ruscio of Esse Emme.

The President’s Award was presented to Montgomery International and was collected by Jimmy Montgomery.

While at the Space Needle, the members took the opportunity to appreciate the 360 degree views of Seattle by night from the observatory deck. With a full moon and clear night it was quite spectacular.

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Excursions to hidden island retreats…

On Wednesday morning a group of members set off on the ferry to Tillicum Village, in Blake Island State Park.

Generous portions of clam chowder were doled out to every arriving visitor, enjoyed while admiring the magnificent view across the bay. This was followed by a huge buffet crowned by the traditional salmon bake, eaten in the long house while watching a theatrical performance of North American Indian culture.

There was also time to explore some of the island’s flora and fauna, such as deer and otters, before setting off back to the big city for an evening at Jazz Alley.

Seattle really does offer the best of both worlds…