Bulk freight terminals now have a new international voice

Bulk freight terminals have had a new international voice since July 2016, through the headquarters located in the UK of the Association of Bulk Terminal Operators (ABTO). It aims to create a government-level united front to allow the sector to confidently deal with the environmental and commercial challenges of the future.

The Association of Bulk Terminal Operators (ABTO) strives to be the voice of bulk freight terminal operators both in Spain and abroad, with the provision of a forum to allow its members to discuss the issues that affect global bulk freight transport and sea trade.

According to CEO, Ian Adams, this new commercial association was established as a result of a lack of representation for bulk freight terminals in national governmental bodies and international sites involving in regulatory decision-making processes. Adams expressed his hopes for this new forum to provide and promote a free exchange of opinions while also enabling a united voice in the sector before governmental bodies, shippers, ship owners and operators “Working in unison is the only way of promoting and protecting the interests of bulk freight terminals worldwide”, according to Adams.

Transport training and event organisation

The association will hold events and conferences to allow bulk freight terminal operators to exchange their viewpoints in order to achieve this unity. It will also organise training programmes and educational seminars to promote best practices between the associated companies.

The Association’s website (www.bulkterminals.org) provides regular information to its members with news on regulatory changes, white papers and different publications of use for the sector.

Association structure

The ABTO is structured around a General Secretariat guided by an Advisory Member Board. The mission of this board is to discuss current and relevant issues that influence the technical, commercial, environmental and market conditions that affect bulk freight terminal operations and merchandise transport.

The association also has a Biomass Committee to facilitate the exchange of experiences around storage and transport of this fuel, which is increasingly used for the generation of energy.

ABTO’s administrative and management tasks are entrusted to a management company (Maritime AMC Limited), composed of four senior members of the maritime community with a broad range of knowledge of the industry and ample experience in a range of areas such as marketing, event management and communication.

According to Adams, this organisation structure recognises that in today’s world, members from commercial associations “do not have enough time to raise issues at the highest level or be influential in decision-making processes”. ABTO’s president is confident about cooperating more fully with all industry organizations, “including those representing shipowners, operators and other groups interested in the transport of bulk freight, to ensure that the voices of our members are heard on a national and an inter-governmental level.

Bulk freight terminal operators, suppliers of equipment and services for terminals as well as associations and relevant institutions and associations from the sector may become members of the Bulk Freight Terminal Operators Association.

The association, which has recently participated in the third meeting of the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) Containers and Cargo Transport Sub-Committee, will hold its first Annual Conference in London in March of next year (2017).

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