Shaped by a focus on services, sharper advocacy and raising the organisation’s global profile as it enters its 70th year, IRU’s new board has kicked-off its two-year term with the road transport industry in a continued environment of challenge and change.
Under the leadership of returning President Christian Labrot, who was unanimously re-elected for a second term last November, IRU’s new Presidential Executive, or Board, met in Geneva on 9 February for their first full meeting.
In opening the meeting, the President outlined his vision for the next term, including the Board’s role, saying, “We have to inspire, guide and motivate our IRU family, and provide wise and pragmatic advice based on our many collective years in the industry.”
In reviewing 2017, the Board welcomed a positive preliminary financial result. The final audited financial results will be presented to the General Assembly for approval in early May.
Looking at 2018, Secretary General Umberto de Pretto and Managing Director Boris Blanche updated the Board on IRU’s five-year transformational strategic development project and presented IRU’s key operational priorities for 2018.
TIR implementation will continue in new countries, with carefully managed growth along trade corridors, particularly in China, Pakistan, India and the UAE, at the same time as efforts move forward on TIR digitalisation.
The drive to professionalise the industry globally, with the expansion of advisory services to governments and development organisations, is another important priority in 2018.
Sharpening IRU’s advocacy work, making it more targeted and results-orientated, is also a key priority, focusing on issues of concern to many IRU members, including legislation such as the EU’s proposed mobility packages, decarbonisation, Brexit and the driver shortages felt in most parts of the world.
Endorsing these ambitious key priorities, the Board also discussed the longer term strategic development project in detail, including the work of the four task forces – Academy, Advocacy, Passenger, and TIR & Transit – and Board member and broader Membership involvement in this work.
The second phase of the overall project, due to start later in 2018 was also discussed. This critical phase means to explore new areas and industry segments will address IRU’s mission and governance, leading to a constitutional review, involving members, planned for 2019.
The Board warmly welcomed updates on the IRU World Congress in Oman in November, the new IRU business forum for logistics and innovation in Amsterdam in April, and IRU’s special 70th anniversary campaign featuring a road trip from Geneva to the Congress in Muscat. Options for a new internal audit committee, made up of Board members, were also discussed. A proposal on this committee’s structure and role will be debated at the next meeting.
Finally, four new organisations, from Italy, the Netherlands and Oman, were approved by the Board to join IRU.
The Presidential Executive’s next meeting will be in early May, before the Transport Councils and General Assembly.