50 years of self governance?
In 1959, the New Zealand Division of The Chartered Institute of Transport was formed, its constitution being approved at a meeting held at Westhaven in Auckland and a celebratory dinner held the same evening at the Waverley Hotel. Thus began fifty years of self governance of the institute here in New Zealand.
But its history began some 40 years earlier when the Institute of Transport was founded in the United Kingdom in 1919. At that time, there was a growing appreciation of the need to “promote the science and art of transport”, a forum where academics, practitioners, managers and operators could come together to debate transport related issues of the day, examine what needed to be done and set about seeing that it was indeed done.
One of the great benefits which the UK bestowed on this and other countries during the colonial period is the model of the professional institutes. These exist in the form of the Institution of Engineers, the accountants, the lawyers, the medical fraternity, architects or any of the other professional organisations which exist to establish and maintain professional standards and to advance their profession. These institutes have generally been and continue to be of great benefit in our country as it has developed.
It can be argued that the benefit of professional institutes ranks right up there with other inherited benefits such as the international sports (including cricket, rugby and soccer) which are so important in linking the countries of the Commonwealth (and beyond) as well as the Westminster Parliamentary System which suits our culture.
However, I digress and will return to the professional institutes and in particular to the one for which we are celebrating 50 years of existence in New Zealand – the Chartered Institute of Transport which more recently has become the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in New Zealand (CILTNZ).
The Institute of Transport was formed in the United Kingdom in 1919. At that time there was a growing appreciation that little was known about transport needs and that the movement of goods and people by transport vehicles was expanding in an ad hoc manner.
In the United Kingdom the membership of the Institute grew quite rapidly and the organisation was granted a Royal Charter in 1926.
The objects of the Institute of Transport as set out in the Royal Charter some 83 years ago were: “To promote, encourage and coordinate the study and advancement of the science and art of transport in all its branches, to initiate and maintain investigation and research into the best means and methods of and appliances for transport, transit, locomotion and the conduct and handling of traffic and the most satisfactory solution of all problems involved therein and all questions ancillary or subsidiary thereto; to extend, increase and disseminate knowledge and exchange information and ideas in regard to all matters connected therewith and to assist and further in all practicable ways the development and improvement of transport, transit, locomotion and the conduct and handling of traffic in the higher interests of our people.”
Here in New Zealand interest in the Institute first surfaced through individuals joining the British Institute in the 1920s and over the following years an increasing number of New Zealanders who were employed in the transport sector in this country pursued this path.
By 1947, New Zealand had a Corresponding Member, whose task was to recruit new students and to assist with the nominations required on the membership application form. They were, in fact, the forerunners of Section Honorary Secretaries. Then at the end of 1956, the Corresponding Member, one Norman Spencer, commenced the task of persuading the Council in London that New Zealand should formally become a branch. Thus set the ball rolling that eventually led to approval being given in early 1959 to set up a Division of the Chartered Institute of Transport here in New Zealand.
In 2002, in recognition of the growing realisation that transport is but one link in the supply chain for the movement of goods and people the Chartered Institute of Transport in New Zealand merged with the Institute of Logistics New Zealand (LNZ) to form the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in New Zealand (CILTNZ) with a membership of 1,500.
LNZ had developed over the previous 15 years to provide support to professionals involved primarily in warehousing and distribution. This support included working with Massey University to bring the UK Diploma in Logistics to New Zealand.
In taking this step New Zealand was following a trend which has been increasingly adopted by the Institute in the 30 countries where it is established around the world. In the United Kingdom, CIT became CILT UK in 1999 whilst, internationally, CIT International became CILT International in late 200 I. Ireland followed suit about the same time.
What has the institute achieved here in New Zealand over the last 50 years?
Measures of achievement can be obtained from perusing the Institute’s files and identifying the leaders of the transport sector over the years who have served as Council members and Chairs of the Institute. In addition, an examination of the Institute’s journal and the records of conferences, meetings, seminars and articles that have been produced to identify issues and promote knowledge and understanding of the logistics and transport industries give a picture of the contribution that the Institute has made.
As a non partisan body that incorporates a broad representative cross section of logistics and transport specialists interacting in a participatory environment of meetings and events, CILTNZ is in the ideal position to actively encourage and develop younger and new participants in the industry, provide leadership, direction and a network for learning.
A point of difference that exists between the CILT and most other professional institutes is that our members come from a wide range of backgrounds and possess a large variety of qualifications and experience whereas many other institutes are based on only accepting members with a narrow range of qualifications focused on their speciality. This model results in interest in logistics and transport as a whole, rather than promoting one mode over another. CILTNZ members include a variety of vocations such as master mariners, airline pilots and road and rail transport operators who mix with academics from universities and technical colleges, public servants and transport and supply chain managers – a wide range of professionals possessing a wide range of economic, financial, legal, planning, engineering and many other specialist qualifications.
Other participants in the supply chain without a particular formal professional or academic qualification, but with experience (often over many years) and proven competence, can also join the Institute. It is this mix together with the amalgam of ages and roles that adds a unique dimension to the Institute.
So why the question mark in the title?
In 1959, the New Zealand Division was formed and it was able to administer its own affairs, but only up to a point. Formal Council status was not achieved until 1978/1979 and, until that time, the Division was not able to determine membership applications. Applications had to be sent to United Kingdom for approval until the New Zealand Division became a Council in its own right. So, we did not completely govern our own affairs for the first 20 years or so of our existence, but almost! Even then, certificates still had to be produced in London until more independence was given to national councils in 1989 and to simplify administration and reduce cost, certificates were produced in New Zealand from 1990 onwards.
April 1989 was the start of significant change which saw the first real steps of internationalism and a move away from the colonialism model that the Institute had followed up to that date. The move was primarily led by a desire to develop the institutes in their own countries but also to reduce the crippling affiliation fee costs that were very badly affected by the poor exchange rate.
1989 was also something of a pivot year for the Institute in New Zealand as the NZ Council established a fulltime office with Peter Goodwin at the helm and the international scene began to change.
In 1989 CILTNZ also became an incorporated society in an effort to protect the assets and name of the organization in New Zealand. Peter Goodwin instigated this because of concern that the Royal Charter (which was in fact the act of incorporation in the UK, albeit a special class of incorporation) had no legal status in New Zealand and the Institute simply existed as an unincorporated organization.
The International Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport is now established in 30 countries. The International Council meets annually and disseminates information on logistics and transport innovations and developments via websites and publications. New Zealanders continue to play an active role on the International Council, and within the last twelve years have provided one International President, Mr Stewart Milne CBE, who succeeded The Princess Royal as International President and served from 1995 to 1997, and two International Vice Presidents.
With the growing appreciation of the importance of the supply chain, including the importance of efficient movement of goods and people, we see that the Institute here in New Zealand and on the world scene can have an expanding role in improving the quality of the transport and logistics services domestically and internationally.
50 years ago when a branch of the International Institute was first established here in New Zealand the issues and problems facing the industry were very different from those we face today and those early members of the Institute could not have envisaged the technological developments that transport has experienced, the growing dependence on efficient supply chains or the huge expansion of cargo and people movement that has taken place.
The reality of this is an industry which accounts for roughly 15% of GDP and has ever widening economic, social and environmental responsibilities far beyond merely running trucks, trains, buses, boats and planes.
If history is anything to go by, the next 50 years will be interesting and almost certainly a different challenge. But history has a habit of showing that a professional institute which has proved itself able and willing to move with the changing times is well established to play a major role in shaping and managing/delivering that future.