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Celebrating 100 years

26 November 2019

Last year was a special and significant one for the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT), as throughout 2019 we celebrated our centenary. Undoubtedly, it has been a time for commemoration and celebration, a chance for us to thank and applaud those who have volunteered, worked for and given up their time to build this Institute over the last 100 years.

Without the hard work of our staff and our members over the last century, we would not have been able to establish this home for those involved in the movement of goods and people to share their ideas, their knowledge and form the necessary links to build a profession that is vital to the global economy. Most important for us, however, 2019 was all about creating an Institute that will deliver on its vision and support businesses and individuals working within our profession for the next 100 years. 

On 3rd November 1919, at a luncheon at London’s Savoy Hotel, administrators, managers and engineers gathered to form a new Institute. It had been championed by the then Minister for Transport Sir Eric Geddes, who subsequently became its first President. The aim of this meeting was to form a body that would bring together a large and diverse group of individuals in pursuit of a common purpose, on whose cooperation, combined knowledge and enterprise any great developments must depend. 

One hundred years later, the location may have changed, but the aims of CILT remain the same: enabling and providing the knowledge, networks and knowhow to develop members’ careers for the benefit of them, the organisations they represent and the profession.

Other notable events of 1919 included the first woman taking her seat in the House of Commons, the creation of the Metropolitan Police’s Flying Squad, the first transatlantic crossing by an airship and the formation of Bentley Motors. That said, maybe 1919 was not all that different from today. Members of our fledgling Institute had to contend with a blockade of Folkestone harbour and an ugly riot in Glasgow prompted by diversity tensions in the merchant navy, both disrupting the flow of goods and people.

Today, our Institute, just as in 1919, brings together the professions that plan and define policy and transport infrastructure to accommodate society’s needs and move goods across borders, speed the population from location to location, ensure supplies arrive at the factory gates just in time, lead logistics, transport and supply chain operations, and ship finished goods around the world. 

It is today’s members – and future members – of the Institute who will be expected to keep the communications arteries of their countries open during the next century, with goods and people flowing through them: long after Brexit, long after today’s trade wars and tensions, and long after today’s giant automated warehouses are replaced by whatever replaces them.

Never to be overlooked is the fact that the profession makes societies work. Without the ability to move people and goods efficiently to where they are needed, world economies would be unable to operate and people would be isolated. The impact on society of all that we do as a profession is profound and our contribution to the world economy is very often undervalued.

In a world of increasing consumer and passenger expectations, demands by their suppliers, fulfillers and the supply chain to exceed those expectations continues to grow. CILT is proud to represent a profession that always innovates and quietly adapts. It is essential, then, that the Institute continues to contribute to the ongoing advancements that will be necessary to attract and retain the best talent for our profession in the future and ensure that CILT membership around the world is something that is essential for these individuals throughout their working lives.

It is with this clear vision that CILT International President Sir Peter Hendy CBE and Paul Sainthouse, President, CILT(UK), have been working collaboratively to guarantee an even brighter future for all members whilst accelerating growth in worldwide membership, adding increased value and operating an enhanced institutional structure that is appropriate to its growing needs and capabilities.

We live in and work in an international world; where trade, logistics and transport of all modes are the mark of civilisation, and the skills and professions that our Institute represents are absolutely essential for the 21st Century. Our centenary year was the perfect opportunity to review all aspects of the Institute in the context of a rapidly changing world and profession, with the overriding objective of ensuring that the Institute is in good shape and fit for purpose for the foreseeable future. 

Our sectors are fundamental to underpinning the global economy, delivering healthcare and ensuring that people can move freely from country to country across land, sea and in the air. The services, expertise and sectors that CILT and its members around the world represent are crucial to every organisations success in the 21st Century and bringing CILT(UK) closer together with its international family is of fundamental importance to ensure this Institute is fit for the future.

The hope for the Institute is that, upon entering its second century of existence, it will be recognised as an increasingly relevant organisation with an ever more important part to play in upholding professionalism, delivering thought leadership, supporting its individual members continual personal development and raising awareness of the great opportunities that exist for those working in our sectors.

As we look forward to the next 100 years, it is incumbent on all of us to ensure that the Institute remains true to its objectives and that we continue to support and promote the profession, one that impacts directly on people, society and the environment, on business profitability and economic growth. Without our members there is no Institute. Together, we will continue to shape the future of our profession and bring through the leaders of tomorrow, starting today.

Words by: Sir Peter Hendy, President, CILT International; Paul Sainthouse, President, CILT(UK); Richard Wilding, Chairman, CILT(UK); and Kevin Richardson, Chief Executive, CILT(UK).

For more information on how you can join CILT and engage with the future of your profession, visit: www.ciltuk.org.uk/join