Friday, January 20, 2017

Annual Freight Awards Sees Logistics Professionals Gather in London

Olympic Star Hosts BIFA Yearly Celebration of Prowess
Shipping News Feature
UK – Once again the Brewery in London’s Chiswell Street was the scene of this year’s British International Freight Association (BIFA) Awards, and guest host for the event was Olympic swimming star and well known sports broadcaster Sharron Davies MBE. Always a lively occasion, an introduction from Robert Keen, BIFA Director General was followed by a speech from Sir Peter Bottomley, the Association’s President which inevitably touched on Brexit, a subject which had particular resonance with the gathered audience.

Sir Peter, always an astute observer of the current state of the industry, pointed out the way to grow and support the world’s economies was the freeing up of international trade, something which he said was demonstrable in India and parts of Asia, although regrettably, not the case in Africa, at least not to date. He compared the construction of new trading relationships post Brexit as similar to the scene set after the Second World War, a time when commerce had to be rebuilt.

The speech was followed by a short film on behalf of transport charity Transaid, whose Chief Executive Gary Forster, explained how the programme it is running in Africa to train delivery HGV and LGV drivers had already succeeded in passing through over 6,000 candidates, all newly schooled in the ways of roadcraft. As usual there was a collection to support the continuing works, with prizes on offer drawn at random for those who donated. Top prize this year was a five car ‘supercar’ driving experience, donated by freight and logistics group Woodland.

During an entertaining speech by the guest Olympian she detailed how hard it was to reach the top in a chosen sport, and listed the sacrifices that the Davies family as a whole had made to support her career, which spanned not only several Olympics from the age of just 13, but led to double gold at the Commonwealth Games plus a host of victories leading to 200 British records over 20 events. There followed the usual excellent meal until it was time to present the various awards, and the results were as follows:

General categories

  • The Project Forwarding Award
  • - sponsored by Peter Lole Insurance Brokers

Winner – Ucargo – Having secured the project in question the company found itself in the unusual position of having not one, but thirty five clients as the owner operators of the carnival equipment, all of whom had a vested interest in seeing their equipment handled correctly and returned to them safely. Ucargo demonstrated exceptional supervision and planning with a very hands-on approach throughout this project.

Finalists – Laser Transport International, OIA Global, Panalpina World Transport

  • The Specialist Services Award
  • - sponsored by Forward Computers

Winner – Priority Freight - The judges felt that Priority Freight demonstrated a high level of skill and specialism in the automotive industry by completing a multi-faceted challenge in an extremely tight timeframe. The team at Priority Freight coordinated a charter aircraft, flight permits and overland transport to destination in extreme weather to deliver on time and prevent a major manufacturing shutdown.

Finalists – Blackthorne International Transport, Charles Kendall Packing, James Cargo Services

  • The Staff Development Award
  • - sponsored by Albacore Systems

Winner – DSV Road – Demonstrating a commitment to staff from day one the Young DSV programme sees trainees follow a two-year apprenticeship combining on-the-job training with classroom learning and examinations. Trainees are coached on all aspects of the industry as well as the DNA of DSV ensuring true engagement with the DSV brand and reducing attrition.

Although there can only be one clear winner in each category it was felt by the judges that special mention should be made of Customs Clearance’s entry which ran the winner’s so very close it required pointing out.

Finalists – Customs Clearance, Expeditors International, Uniserve Group

  • The Supply Chain Management Award
  • - sponsored by BoxTop Technologies

Winner – Unsworth Global Logistics – Unsworth demonstrated a pro-active approach towards identifying bottlenecks in its customer’s supply chain. Its focus on improving efficiency far exceeded the customer’s expectations and consequently provided its customer with substantial cost savings, reduced its carbon footprint and streamlined the delivery process.

Finalists – Allport Cargo Services, Expeditors International (UK), Ligentia UK

Individual category

  • The Young Freight Forwarder Award
  • - sponsored by Virgin Atlantic Cargo

Winner – Nikki Hall of Embassy Freight – Nikki joined Embassy Freight on leaving school and has not looked back. Her go-getting personality has enabled her to progress from trainee to Business Development Manager with special focus on the Indian market which she has visited frequently in order to meet with customers and suppliers. NIcky took home a cheque for £1,000 for her expertise.

Finalists – Simon Arnold of Unity Logistics, Adam Harris of Heritage International Freight, Lee Wells of 512 (Sheffield)

Modal categories

  • The Air Cargo Services Award
  • - sponsored by IAG Cargo

Winner – The Uniserve Group - The judges felt that Uniserve’s use of the 360ULD was an excellent response to changing logistics sectors and economic pressures. Showing clear evidence of cost savings, customers in the supply chain benefitted in both product integrity and profitability.

Finalists – 512 (Sheffield), MIQ Logistics, MOL Logistics (UK)

  • The European Logistics Award
  • - sponsored by TT Club

Winner - Delamode – The judges agreed that Delamode had demonstrated the successful implementation of an innovative solution in providing a cost effective parcel delivery service to the Romanian and Baltic state markets. The service solution provided cost saving benefits to the business whilst clearly benefitting the customer base in offering a more efficient delivery service.

Finalists – Espace Europe, International Forwarding, Uniserve Group

  • The Ocean Services Award
  • - sponsored by Port of Antwerp

Winner - Greenshields Cowie – The company demonstrated an effective use of ocean services from four continents in order to manage the delivery of solar panels and associated equipment to remote areas of Africa in a bid to bring clean energy to health facilities and schools in developing regions. The judges were impressed by the presentation and the ‘green’ spirit of the team at Greenshields Cowie.

Finalists – 512 (Sheffield), Ucargo

Specialist categories

  • The Cool Award
  • - sponsored by American Airlines Cargo

Winner - Panalpina – Through its ‘Pan Cool’ product, Panalpina has proven itself to be the global leader in the cool chain sector. Using its own freighter aircraft it is able to offer unique cool chain solutions at a global level. Its continued commitment to innovation and development of the “Pan Cool” product is testimony to its professionalism and ambition.

Finalists – Metro Shipping, Morgan Cargo

  • The Extra Mile Award
  • - sponsored by Descartes

Winner – MIQ Logistics – MIQ Logistics went the extra mile by providing direct customer support on behalf of their client. An area not traditionally supported by a logistics provider in the B2C supply chain and added valued to their client by securing increased purchases and ensuring customer satisfaction as a result.

Finalists – OIA Global, Shippio Car & Motorcycle Shipping, Simarco International Commenting on yet another successful event Robert Keen, BIFA Director General, observed:

“The BIFA Freight Service awards are not just about rewarding excellence. The luncheon is an excellent networking event, cementing existing relationships between Members and guests, and making new ones. I congratulate every company and individual who took the time and trouble to enter our Freight Service Awards competition 2016. I continue to believe that the very act of entering allows Members to improve their business systems and learn a great deal about themselves.”

Photo: Sir Peter Bottomley addresses several hundred freight representatives at the Awards ceremony.