Now in its 20th year, the International Dry Bulk Terminals Group (DBTG) is the only voice that speaks specifically for the operators of dry bulk terminals. DBTG is a not-for-profit organization that provides owners and operators of dry bulk terminals a forum to discuss issues that affect their sector and a platform from which they can be addressed.
In the 1990s when Ships of Shame were making headlines and some notable incidents involving dry bulk carriers, terminals were veryoftenhavingfingersofblamepointedat them as the cause of the problem. Poor loading and dangerous cargoes were often cited as the cause of incidents when in truth, it was substandard and poorly operated ships that were most often at fault.
One man felt that this was not right and took it upon himself to contact some of the largest terminals of the time to see if there was an appetite to come together
and collectively defend terminals from the unjustified criticisms that were filling the press. That man was Richard Peckham and after several days spent on the phone, he had the agreement of 30 terminal owners/operators, all handling a variety of commodities, to meet in Rotterdam to discuss the issues for what resulted in the first meeting of DBTG. Initially they called themselves the International Dry Bulk Terminal Contact Group and in 1999 the group was officially formed and became IDBTG, having dropped the ‘Contact’ aspect from the title.
The biggest issue for terminals at that time was zero representation at any level in the industry. This prevented terminals from publically representing or defending themselves and Peckham set out to rectify that. At the same time the Coal Export Terminal Operators Association (CETOA) had applied unsuccessfully for Consultative
Status at the International Maritime Organization (IMO), unsuccessful because they only represented one aspect of dry bulk. However, Peckham had the vision to see that an application for Consultative Status to the IMO representing all dry bulk cargoes might be looked at more favourably. He was not wrong and 18 months later, in 2000, DBTG was granted Consultative Status as the International Bulk Terminals Association (IBTA). Since that time, IBTA has represented the owners and operators of its dry bulk terminal Members at the IMO with some notable achievements.
The DBTG founder Richard Peckham was always open to new ideas and many years ago, Ken Jones from the Port of Liverpool suggested that a golf challenge ahead of DBTG meetings might offer some delegates a good way to meet and talk. Peckham, who could hit a ball but could not see where it went agreed and the DBTG golfing challenge cup, then sponsored by E-ON was inaugurated. Peckham sadly passed away nearly six years ago now but in the DBTG’s 20th year, he will be remembered in Baltimore as the challenge cup will be played for again for the first time in several years.
Executive Director Nic Ingle is keen to point out the not-for-profit principle of DBTG as he believes this is often over- looked or not truly understood. Not-for- profit means that DBTG is not driven by money, it is driven by a passion for what it does — represent its members who in co-operation, continually drive up industry standards. It also means that membership fees remain very realistic and affordable as only costs need to be covered — there are no shareholders or investors to satisfy. When DBTG says it is not-for-profit and represents its members at international level, that is true. Ingle says “Beware of those that make claims to our industry that are simply not true, they will make claims that are false, make statements based on the work of others and make promises they cannot keep, all they want is your money.” DBTG continues to grow and exercises its voice when required be that at the international level in which it operates or to those who seek to undermine for profit.