Global Logistics Associates - Metamorphasis, Transition to the Next Era

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The Rotterdam based forwarders' network Global Logistics Associates (GLA), one of the oldest and most succesful worldwide freight associations of its kind, held its 22nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) at The Hilton hotel in Antwerp, end of March. GLA is also celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

The Rotterdam based forwarders' network Global Logistics Associates (GLA), one of the oldest worldwide freight associations of its kind, held its 22nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) at The Hilton hotel in Antwerp, end of March.

"Metamorphasis, Transition to the next Era" was the motto of this year's event.

A preview of a new website and a special magazine which will be issued to mark GLA's 20th Anniversary, was given to the members. Both products which are expected to contribute considerably to the association's marketing efforts, will be launched by the end of April. The organizational restructuring has been successfully completed and a new fee structure was introduced.

Ms. Jill James of John S. James Co. held an interesting presentation on the ISF/10+2 compliance issue for US bound shipments.

New member companies from Jordan, Morocco, The Ukraine and Tunisia introduced themselves to the 100 key representatives of independent freight forwarders from all over the world.

Traditionally, the main focus was on strengthening business friendships and member-to-member business development. One of the members expressed the value of GLA membership as follows: "...thanks to our GLA membership, we will be able to get through the economic downturn with confidence. Our worldwide partnerships have enabled us to attract, serve and satisfy clients who we would have not been able to approach had it not been for the strength and buying power of the association. With GLA you know who you are dealing with, you have confidence in the partner handling your customer's shipments, and you know that payments are safe. And GLA even has a payment protection plan in place which protects its members in the event that a partner is unable to settle its invoices."

In his closing remarks, GLA President Alwyn Nel thanked the meeting hosts Broekman Belgium nv, the sponsors and all the members for a very successful meeting. He reiterated that for 2009/2010 the main focus will be on further expanding the association with quality members, thereby improving the network's coverage of air- and seaports and increasing the amount of business. In 2010 GLA will organize its 23rd AGM at a top location in Asia.

A Glance into the Past

GLA is also celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

The year was 1989, and a group of Custom House Brokers and Foreign Freight Forwarders met in New Orleans. They came from San Francisco, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Chicago, Boston and Miami. All of them recognized the need to organize an international association - the ultimate goal of which was to establish an international network of small businesses to compete with large multi office Brokers and Forwarders.

The meeting continued in a hotel room and the bed became a desk. Slowly they became friends, comrades and created the name, Global Logistics Associates (GLA) and over time the objectives of this new international organization emerged:

·         Members would have someone they know in key markets of the world.

·         Services would include Ocean, Air, Logistics, Distribution, Consolidation, Door -to-Door, Insurance, Export Packing, Warehousing and Surface Transportation.

·         Members would have group purchasing power to produce better profits and save customers money. The group would be members of the NCBFAA Shipper's Association and the International Air Cargo Association.

·         Members would organize a NVOCC as a branch of GLA - GlobeTrans International (GTI).

·         Air Transport Programs would be constantly structured to meet current situations.

·         Annual Meetings: Meet worldwide members at one place and time. Discuss business opportunities and solve problems face to face, and discuss common business management and strategic problems with fellow executives.

The group decided to meet every six months and during the first couple of years, the members were U.S. companies; however that changed in 1991. Several companies located around the world were invited to the meeting held in Miami and the Global aspect of GLA materialized. It was the beginning of a worldwide network of partners, friends and members.

By 1992 the network had grown to 18 members and was at a size that dictated the need for an Executive Director. The idea was to have the association's day to day operation managed by a neutral party. David Cabbell was appointed Executive Director and would remain so until he retired in 2002. With one assistant, he handled the finances, publicity, communication, organized the meetings, regulatory agency liaison, attended Board meetings, maintained membership information, minutes, smoothed out disputes and recruited new members worldwide. By 1997, the association was 78 offices strong worldwide.

In 1995, GLA management met in a hotel lobby in San Diego. The group developed a new idea organizing an NVOCC activity under the name of GlobeTrans International (GTI). The basic plan was written and six months later GTI was a reality.

In 2002, David Cabbell retired as Executive Director, and members decided to move GLA's operation to the Netherlands; incorporated as GLA B.V. in Rotterdam. The Board used the services of the management company A&S Management. In 2004, GLA hired its own Executive Director and management secretary - Frits Schouffoer and Maureen Leeuwenburgh, and they continue to manage GLA to this day.

With improved communication tools, GLA decided to drop bi-annual meetings and meet one time a year. At the time of the annual meeting in Antwerp, the association consisted of 60 members with a total of approximately 110 offices.

Today, GLA is managed by the Executive Director, the President, and the Board of Directors. Reporting to the President are various committees such as the Web/Media Committee, Air and Ocean Committee, Compliance Committee, New Membership Committee and the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee is composed of past presidents of GLA.

The current president is Mr. Kevin W. Stewart from The U.S.A..

The telephone, technology, web sites and the internet are the tools that help hold GLA together. However, it is the annual meetings that cement relationships, friendships and associations. Relaxed conversations between members create new business, solve problems and hear other points of view about solving sales, human resource, financial and operational problems and opportunities.

So it is that the past 20 years has poured a foundation that is as solid as rock - a foundation on which to build the future. It is a proactive future; moving forward, meeting challenges and increasing business - a view to the future that was initiated by the founders. GLA is here to stay!

About GLA

GLA is a global network of independent freight forwarders and customs brokers, dedicated to providing its members and their clients with the best worldwide logistics services, adding value to their international supply-chain operations.

Founded in 1989, GLA is one of the oldest freight associations. Our primary goals are to give our members the ability to better compete against larger companies on a worldwide basis and to improve profits. Our global coverage and the smaller size of our members allows us to provide the more personalized service to our customers while still responding to all of their worldwide logistics needs with competitive carrier options they would find on their own.

GlobeTrans International (GTI), the non-vessel-operating common carrier (NVOCC) business unit of GLA and its own Bill of Lading have all the requisite insurance coverage. Over and above this, GLA has a policy and procedures manual which is updated regularly to help its members perform and use the facilities optimally. Last but not least GLA has a special compliance committee that keeps its members up to date on the latest trends and safety measures.

GLA is ranked in the top 5 contributors of the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA) and a member of The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA). GLA offers its members exclusivity per air- and seaport and despite the fact that GLA has a strong representation on all continents, there are still areas which are open for membership.

Membership benefits:

Unified standards and a centralized roll-out of changes on a network level.
Lead generation and faster reactions on a global scale.
Members remain independent and maintain their own identity but join forces under a strong, worldwide brand name.
Independence, flat hierarchy and slim management of member companies enable swift decision making on a local level.
Advantages of local heroes and their proximity to the customer, speaking the same language.
Joint buying power (access to competitive transport rates, insurance premiums) / economies of scale.
Financial resources and a payment protection programme (GLA Guardian Plan).
Medium-sized traders/producers want medium-sized partners, but at the same time the association is able to handle the business of multinationals.
Continuous quality improvements, product development and expansion of the network.
A strong and experienced management and various active committees which monitor latest worldwide developments in the freight forwarding industry.
Joint communication systems, tracking/tracing and modern modes of transport transform the world into a "village".

Please check out http://www.globallogisticsassociates.com for more information or request for a Membership Information Package via info(at)glanetwork.com.

Frits Schouffoer
Executive Director
Global Logistics Associates (GLA)

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