More than 90 delegates attend Eurobitume’s autumn meeting

Europe |

Lisbon, Portugal was the location for Eurobitume’s 2017 Annual Autumn Meeting, which took place on 18 & 19 October. Some 90 key figures from the global bitumen industry descended on the city to hear about the latest developments from the voice of the bitumen industry in Europe.

Day one opened with Eurobitume President Siobhan McKelvey welcoming participants to the former 18th century Ministry of Internal Affairs building. Rui Reis, who is Managing Director of Eurobitume member company Galp Energia, then took to the floor and gave an in depth overview of the Portuguese energy company, which is active not only in Portugal but also in Spain and Africa.

These introductions were followed by the Autumn Meeting Seminar, which served the purpose of highlighting the association’s achievements over the past months.

First up was Lize Deferme, member of Eurobitume’s Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) Committee, who gave a comprehensive HSE presentation. Lize set out the many positive results coming from the recently updated Meta Analysis on cancer risk associated with exposure to bitumen and bitumen emissions, which came from a systematic review conducted by Prof Boffetta on behalf of Eurobitume and the Asphalt Institute (AI).

‘Building the road to the future’ was the aptly named title of the next presentation, which was jointly given by Eurobitume’s Technical Committee (TC) Chair Frédérique Cointe and members Ian Lancaster and Laurent Michon. They gave an overview of two relatively new Eurobitume technical Task Forces (TF): TF Specifications and TF Test Methods. Frédérique then elaborated on two further TFs within the TC: TF Life Cycle Analysis and a newly created TF on revamping the technical section of the Eurobitume website.

The focus then turned to communications with Public Relations Committee (PRC) chair Emma Mallinson and member Johanna Andreasson, explaining the importance of social media before updating all on the association’s Twitter feed and Linkedin account. They concluded by inviting those present to actively engage with Eurobitume’s communication efforts.

Jose Serrano Gordo, Deputy CEO of Infraestruturas de Portugal, the public transport infrastructure company, closed day one by providing an overview of the Portuguese road network. He also updated all on market developments, investments, and major ongoing and upcoming infrastructure projects.

Evening activities included taking a cultural tram ride through the historic city before enjoying a delicious meal at a top Lisbon restaurant with a wonderful view of the city and harbour.

Day two opened with comprehensive annual reporting from the three Eurobitume Committees mentioned above as well as the Membership Committee.

To gain a perspective from across the pond, Asphalt Institute’s President Pete Grass offered a clear and cogent snapshot of the communication tools it is taking advantage of. Asphalt Institute Foundation Chairman Ralph Shirts, then reported on the very positive conclusions of the recent STAR Symposium in Colorado Springs. Ralph also spoke about the mid-term perspectives and expectations for our industry, both technically as well as from an occupational point of view.

Eurobitume’s strength lies in its membership and this was apparent in the new member presentations. All in all, four new members were accepted as Associate Members of the association. We would like to offer our congratulations to ASESA, Asfalt Kennis, GEOS, and OOMS.

To close proceedings, Eurobitume Director General Aimé Xhonneux, delivered a farewell speech to Eurobitume UK´s Manager Chris Southwell. Chris is due to retire at the end of 2017, after more than 40 years of service to the industry in various positions.

Eurobitume would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who came to Lisbon and we look forward to welcoming our members and invited guests to Brussels for next year´s spring meeting.