Earlier this November some of the most influential people in the transport and logistics industry gathered at the Savoy Hotel, London, to celebrate a century of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, and everything that is good about our profession.
It was at the Savoy hotel where, one hundred years previous, our Georgian counterparts laid down the foundations of what would become CILT, an Institute with the mission to ‘To promote and encourage knowledge of traffic science and of the art of transport in all its branches…to provide facilities for the study of and exchange of information and ideas on traffic problems and all means and methods of transport; and to raise the status of those engaged in traffic and transport’.
Hosted by CILT International President Sir Peter Hendy CBE, and attended by 100 guests, the centenary celebration was the culmination of a series of events organised around the world, focused on both the rich history of CILT, and the bright future ahead of the organisation.
Indeed, the question of what lies ahead for CILT was at the heart of the day’s events, beginning with Sir Peter’s opening remarks. ‘What does that future hold? We can barely see the outcomes of this week or this month in many of our situations, and the value placed on a single Tweet or a single news item can totally distract from the longer view. So, let us today for a few minutes reflect on what that future may look like in our transport and logistics world’.
Sir Peter then introduced Professor Alan McKinnon, guest of honour for the day’s proceedings. Professor McKinnon is a veteran of the logistics industry, Professor of Logistics in the Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg and Professor Emeritus at Heriot-Watt University.
In a thought provoking and highly informative presentation, Professor McKinnon took the opportunity to offer a view of the next 100 years, not just for CILT but the supply chain, logistics and transport industries, and indeed the world.
‘Given the accelerating rate of technological, social and environmental change, the world is likely to undergo a greater transformation by 2119 than it has over the past century. Transport and logistics will both drive this transformation and be shaped by it. Projecting so far in the future takes you well beyond the reach of governmental and corporate forecasts into the realms of science fiction… I will outline optimistic and pessimistic scenarios and suggest that reality will probably fall somewhere in between.’
‘The darker future is a scary place. It is one in which mankind has failed to contain global warming, climatic tipping points have been crossed and people are suffering the dreadful consequences – in sea-levels three metres higher, extreme weather events much more frequent and more intense than today and large swathes of the planet are uninhabitable. Inter-regional collaboration has broken down and countries are adopting ‘beggar-my-neighbour’ policies to protect their populations against the ravages of climate change.’
‘In the brighter of the two futures we will have created a zero carbon world and done so quickly enough to avert environmental disaster, meet our long term sustainability goals and largely eliminate poverty around the world. Almost all economic activity will have been automated by then allowing people to live long, healthy, contented lives of leisure on a basic universal income… In such a world, the CILT membership will comprise the designers, planners and controllers of these highly automated systems.’
Sir Peter then returned to the stage to share his thoughts on the future of CILT. ‘Our proud history has already marked us out as a truly global Institute, unique in our coverage across many countries of the world and the total expanse of every activity in transport, logistics and the supply chain. We are unique by virtue of our history, our emphasis on our global family, and our professional & graphical reach that touches every sector and every region of the world. We are, in short, a remarkable organisation, a reassuringly constant presence in an ever-changing world.’
After a short film recognising CILT’s heritage, celebrating members and looking forward to the future, Sir Peter introduced Jeremy Long, CEO of European Business at MTR, who generously sponsored proceedings.
‘The pursuit of professional excellence and continuous improvement are core values that we share with CILT, whom we work with closely in the field of training and professional development. To mention just one example, I recently learned that the first CILT Young Professionals group was established in Hong Kong in 2004. Their very first event was a trip to visit the MTR Operations Controls Centre. At MTR, we are committed to building on this strong partnership and we are very happy to be supporting this very special celebration.’
CILT is immensely grateful to MTR for their sponsorship of our Centenary Celebration, and all members wish MTR congratulations on their 40th Anniversary, celebrated earlier this October.
Guests then watched a series of short films created by branches around the world, celebrating CILT and what the organisation means to them, culminating in a goodwill message from Dr Dorothy Chan, Global Chairperson of Women in Logistics and Transport (WiLAT).
It then fell to Stephen Taylor, a member of the NexGen network, CILT’s forum for the support and empowerment of tomorrow’s industry leaders, to deliver a message on behalf of young logistics professionals throughout the world. ‘As a young professional, it is crucial that I have the confidence, competence and commitment to succeed in an innovative and forward-thinking industry. CILT and the NexGen network have helped me significantly in developing and nurturing these attributes.’
‘As we look forward to the next 100 years of the Institute, it is entirely appropriate to cite immediate past President Kevin Byrne, who wrote in his presidential address of 2017 “we must not just enable today’s leaders, but nurture tomorrow’s.” ‘
‘The members of CILT’s NexGen network are those leaders of tomorrow. It is the responsibility all members, particularly senior members, to share their experience, and to provide the support and mentoring needed for our young professionals to fulfill their potential.’
Mr Taylor also delivered a message from Usman Shaibu, NexGen Regional Ambassador for Africa. ‘The future is no longer ahead but with us. How CILT attends to young professionals today will determine the next century of our Institute. We, the members of the NexGen network are excited at the prospect of the next 100 years, and we are proud of our opportunity to play a key role.
Today, we celebrate our founders. But as young professionals, we also give our thanks to you, for the nurturing, counsel, direction, knowledge and the hope you have given, and continue to give. We will not let you down.’
Proceedings then moved away from the future for a moment, to look at past achievements, and in particular the work of three individuals stepping down after giving excellent and dedicated service to our Institute.
Firstly, David Maunder who received the Pegasus medal for his contribution to the Institute’s educational work. A moderator of International education programmes, David was instrumental in creating the International Education programme in conjunction with CILT UK in the early 2000s, and as Sir Peter pointed out in his commendation ‘He has outstanding knowledge and respect across the world and goes at the end of a year when the education revenue is now six times that in 2011.’
Secondly to Rupert Nichols, who has served the Institute well during his long and dedicated tenure as both Trustee and Honorary Solicitor. Rupert was presented with the Pegasus medal by Sir Peter who said, ‘Rupert’s history with the Institute goes back too many years to properly track. Rupert was critical in supporting the changes in the byelaws and constitution needed post the merger of the IOL and CIT. He was one of the key individuals who set up the charity Transaid.’
Finally, to Steven Rinsler, who received an Honorary Fellowship for his dedication, hard work and loyalty to the Institute. Steve has held many posts within CILT, including Chair of the CILT UK Board, Interim CEO of CILT UK, International Vice President, Honorary Secretary and Trustee, and has chaired the International Management Committee for two separate tenures. Sir Peter noted that Steve is ‘well known and respected’ throughout the Institute, and played a vital a role in developing both our China branch, and ‘our global approach in the last six years.’
CILT as a whole is grateful to the vital contributions of all three. We also thank MTR for their generous sponsorship, to the Savoy staff who looked after us all so well, and to the International team who in conjunction with our marketing partners Pink organised such an excellent event.