May 24 - Approximately 170 delegates from around the world attended the Global Project Logistics Network's (GPLN) annual general meeting, which was held at the Marriott Hotel Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium from May 21-23.

The event included a day trip to Ghent, before kicking off with a cocktail reception opposite the central Brussels hotel.

GPLN's Felix Schrick opened the conference on May 22, delivering a speech welcoming a number of new members and introducing delegates to the services that the network offers.

Members then heard presentations from Torben Berger of Rickmers-Linie, who noted that the multipurpose (MPV) sector is losing market share at the moment, due to excess tonnage as well as competition from container, ro-ro and bulk carriers; Fabian Wulferding of Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL), who explained the various ways that heavy and out-of-gauge cargoes can be carried on the line's specialised carriers; Ruslan International's Michael Goodisman, who told delegates about recent developments within both the Volga-Dnepr and Antonov airlines; Patrick van Lavieren of Maersk Line's special cargo team, who explained the advantages of shipping project cargo via regular container liner services; and Rainer Sasse from the TII Group, who gave a presentation on the benefits of using self-propelled modular transporters (SPMT) to move heavy and oversize cargoes around the world by road.

After an afternoon of one-on-one meetings, delegates were treated to a fantastic gala dinner (sponsored by Rickmers-Linie) at the restaurant, La Manufacture, in Brussels.

The event concluded with a second day of one-on-one meetings. GPLN also offered an optional Heavy Lift Maritime and Transport Seminar on May 24 at the Marriott Hotel Grand Place, which was open to non-members.

GPLN executive director Luzius Haffter told HLPFI that the conference had a record number of attendees again and he was encouraged by the success of the meeting in spite of the current economic malaise.