Costantino Baldissara was re-elected on the 5th of May as president of ECG at a General assembly attended by some 160 people in the centre of Warsaw. The unanimous vote sees him take up the mantle for a second two-year term. The 12 board members were also re-elected by the ECG membership, including Wolfgang Göbel who retains the vice-president’s post.

Two new board members were also elected and we welcome Roberto Volpato of Italy’s Eliambrosetti SpA and Kirill Petrunkin of FTC Autotechnoimport LLC, who becomes ECG’s first Russian board member.

In his pre-election statement Costantino pledged that, under his leadership, ECG would “continue to promote dialogue among providers, customers, authorities and institutions about the critical needs of modern supply chains. “In addition,” he said, “our Association will also maintain its efforts on standardisation and press forward with lobbying initiatives aimed at building a more efficient and environmentally sustainable LSP sector.”

The President was also able to announce continuing interest in membership with 8 new members already in 2011., namely Acumen, Autotechnoimport, DFDS Seaways, Glovis, Green Tiger, Motortransport, PFG International Transportation and Rhenus.

Fifteen more graduates of the ECG Academy received their diplomas at the ceremony held during the formal dinner, taking the total number of graduates since the course began to 98. Maike Ziezolt of Daimler AG was nominated by the European Business School as this year’s winner of the Giovanni Paci Award for the top student.

“The future is in our hands,” said Costantino in his keynote speech to the assembly on Friday. “Demand for new vehicles is on the rise in most of the major European markets, and this will inevitably translate into greater demand for logistics services. Looking ahead, this spells better times for our sector.” As he also noted, however, a number of obstacles must be hurdled if Europe’s LSPs are to be capable of meeting that rising demand for logistics services. There is a risk that without a 3 to 5 billion investment a lack of transport capacity may choke off the industry’s wider recovery.

Relations between LSPs and their OEM clients also appear to be on the mend after the turmoil of the crisis years. Egon Christ, senior manager worldwide transportation and vehicle distribution at Daimler, called for a new “model of co-operation” between logistics providers and manufacturers. “The conclusion from the data we have heard is that the crisis is over and the outlook is great,” he said. At the same time, he acknowledged that the logistics sector is recovering only slowly, partly because OEMs had looked to their supplier base for cost savings and rates had suffered as a result.

The President welcomed this initiative, adding that ECG has been a long-standing proponent of greater partnership between LSPs and OEMs. He said he would approach Daimler shortly with a view to opening talks on the new code. “This could represent the dawn of a new era for our industry,” he said, “in which mutual respect and an awareness of the other’s concerns leads to greater economic stability and sustainability. With the market on the way back, its timing could not be better.”