I have held the post of TIMCON president for 12 months and it is rewarding to say it has been a year of positive change for our industry, with TIMCON in a strong position to move forward and tackle new challenges.

The work we are doing in setting and maintaining standards in the UK wood packaging and pallet sectors has been helped considerably by the planned and sustained communications programme that we initiated. The results of this are becoming evident and the feedback from the Forestry Commission and other associations in Europe – and even the US – is encouraging.

In fact, we are shortly meeting the US’s National Wooden Pallet and Container Association (NWPCA) to discuss a mutual global campaign in support of timber pallets and packaging. Our sponsorship of Wood for Good has been renewed for another year, with discussions under way about the possibility of a new joint advertising campaign.

A major success is the continuing development of the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measure (ISPM 15). For some time the UK has implemented its own compliance scheme involving the Forestry Commission and the Northern Ireland Forest Services, and administered by TIMCON. We are delighted that China has signed up to ISPM 15 compliance.

Health and safety issues are an industry-wide problem and TIMCON is playing an important role in helping the Health & Safety Executive communicate vital information. Many of our members are investing in improved health and safety measures, realising that while this may be relatively expensive, so are accidents.

We are helping our members by offering access to a professionally-endorsed, modular training programme for operatives. It covers areas such as safer working; a reduction in injuries and downtime; lower insurance premiums; greater efficiency; and improved output in terms of quality and efficiency.

Furthermore, TIMCON has negotiated sole licensing rights from the NWPCA for the sale of Pallet Design System software in the UK and Ireland.

We are delighted with our progress and are looking forward to bringing even more positive change over the next 12 months.