So with 2019 comes a special anniversary, as we celebrate the one hundred year of the Chartered Institute Of Logistics And Transport. It is in fairness a noble and worthy celebration, the Institute has played a considerable role in shaping the future of Logistics and transport industries for over three generations. It has its roots firmly planted in the mud and horror of the front line of the battles that shaped the mass destruction of the First World War.

Those hardy souls who organised the real logistics of waging war in the stalemate of the trenches decided that upon the end of the war, it would make eminent sense to seek to foster lessons learned from the front line to advance the science and art of transport. Without doubt in my opinion a very noble and important aspiration especially after the terrible experiences that these men had witnessed and endured.

The inaugural meeting took place at the iconic Savoy Hotel in central London on November 3 rd 1919, it was attended by a group of men who were Managers, Engineers and Administrators. However, most of them shared a common background, at some stage they had been members of the  General Headquarters Transport. This somewhat unknown organisation was crucial in the planning and instigation of waging war in the Great War from 1914 until 1918. This was the group who played a key part in the practical logistics of moving men , munitions, and everything else needed to keep the army capable and able to wage war.

A year on almost to the day from the signing of the armistice the group met with a specific agenda, to pool their experience to facilitate three specific agendas. First collect and collate data for the purpose of developing and improving scientific methods to develop greater transport efficiency. Second, develop the means to instigate a future intergrated transport system. Finally, develop training of logistics talent. 

In fairness one hundred years on, and a Royal charter later, the aspirations have been achieved with interest. Today in my opinion the Institute has a century later positione itself firmly in the landscape of the UK’s highest decision makers. Evidence of which is clear with the CEO Kevin Richardson being invited over the Xmas period to number ten to meet with the Prime MInister and her advisors directly to have an input into the Brexit discussions.

For me as an active and busy member of the Institute I think that if you had assembled the original members who gathered back in the day at the Savoy,   they would be delighted to think that the little acorn they created had now taken a place at the very top table of leadership and decision making. My firm belief is simple, even though I will not be here to see it, in one hundred years the Institute will have cemented it’s role in the Logistics And transport industries. My crystal ball suggests that membership will be in the tens of thousands across all sectors of the logistics and transport rainbow, with as many women as men, and with the Institute being the must go place  for young people Loki g for a career in transport, and with a very high profile across schools and colleges. Now, in fairness you might think that my dreams are pie in the sky, but then again 100 years ago over lunch in the Savoy do you really think that small gathering would ever have thought that their aspiration would become a reality and a force to be reckoned with. So happy anniversary to CILT, it is as Sir Peter Hendy pointed out a for for good.

Share This