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FEM membership focus widens

Thursday, 16 Sep 2004 ( #175 ) - DRESDEN, Germany
News Story
The Fédération Européenne de la Manutention (FEM) has reorganised itself to widen its membership focus.

The restructure was announced during the FEM Congress meeting from September 9-11 in Dresden, and sees the FEM now a non-profit entity, incorporated in Belgium.

According to a report obtained by News, the reorganisation would "permit various additional entities to join FEM directly as ‘ordinary’ members".

Until now, the FEM’s membership was comprised of national organisations representing the materials handling industry in various nations around the world, such as the British Materials Handling Institute (BMHI) and the Verband Deutscher Maschinen-und Anlagenbau eV (VDMA) in Germany.

Under the new structure, the FEM said the British Industrial Truck Association, a member of the BMHI, could join the FEM directly as an ordinary member, with full voting rights.

The FEM also announced they were setting up associate and individual memberships, which would allow "friends of FEM", such as coal and steel producers, and individual materials handling companies to become members.

The FEM would not comment on the reorganisation.

According to the obtained report, CEOs at the congress noted that increasing labour costs were driven by pressures on government social and health care budgets, and these had hampered the productivity increases of the past 10 years.

This trend has resulted in manufacturers moving their operations to China, with Estonia also mentioned as an alternative manufacturing location.

The CEOs also reviewed the health of the European materials handling market. They reported being "cautiously optimistic" about growth for this year, but "concerned" about 2005.
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