by Robert Balcckburn

Dear Members,

Dear Readers,

2018 was a year of extremes – at least it certainly felt like it. The storms were more ferocious, the rainfall in the spring was heavier, and the summer sun shone hotter and longer than is normally the case in our more temperate climes. The unusual weather was matched by a series of unusual and sometimes strange phenomena – such as Brexit negotiations without a conclusive outcome, a debate over the merits of the diesel engine driven more by ideology than facts, and disturbing signals from the White House on trade and security policy.

In the opinion of BVL, the logistics sector has reacted to all these extreme situations both calmly and pragmatically. "Digitalization Meets Reality" was the theme for 2018, and this reflected the fact that, during the year, corporate strategies were focused on the implementation of new digital solutions in the real world of logistics. Personnel considerations also came to the fore more than was the case in previous years – as was also evident from the presentations and discussions during the 35th International Supply Chain Conference. This is an encouraging trend, as the qualification of employees in logistics is one of the keys to future success.

The 40th anniversary of BVL and the fact that the conference was staged for the 35th time in 2018 meant that the association had every reason to celebrate – as well as to look back at past and forward to the future of logistics. For me personally, it was both a joy and an honour that this twin anniversary fell in the first year of my term in office as BVL President. One of the special moments from my point of view was the opening of the conference on the morning of October 17, and I would like to take the opportunity to repeat a message that is particularly close to my heart: "Good morning, Logistics Heroes … nothing works without you!" This is the kind of self-confident spirit that can underpin our success in the future.

The conference theme for 2019 chosen by the Board is "Inspire – Encourage – Act”. It signals a willingness to roll up our sleeves, as well as the courage to tread new paths and to encourage each other as colleagues to achieve great things. My wish is that BVL always has the courage to re-invent itself, to embark on new projects without fear, and to motivate the people in our professional network to push ahead with innovations. The Board would like to thank all members for their loyalty and all honorary officials as well as the staff at head office for their unflagging commitment. I am looking forward to the year 2019 as part of this strong community.

Prof. Dr. Robert Blackburn

President