During the 1960's, Captain Owen O. Thomas, of Furness Withy, London and Henk van Walt Meijer, of Furness N.V., a Rotterdam based Agent and Stevedore, had a close working relationship. It revolved around the handling of Shaw Savill Line vessels in the Port of Rotterdam by Furness N.V. The two men had much in common. They spent innumerable hours talking about the changes occurring in cargo handling and what changes containerisation might bring to the stevedoring industry.
They decided to set up a body wherein stevedores from all over the world could meet and, whilst they had no commercial links, talk to each other about business related matters of mutual interest. At that first meeting in New York on February 3rd, 1970 the first board was established with Henk van Walt Meijer named as President with A.D. Brantenaar (Rotterdam) and Captain Owen O. Thomas (London) as joint secretaries.
The first Annual General Meeting was held in Rotterdam in 1971. At this meeting, the official name - General Stevedoring Council - was adopted together with the Articles of Association. The Council was incorporated under Dutch Law and Royal Charter.
Today the Council has two prime roles;
1. First to act as a forum for its members to exchange information, knowledge and contacts within the stevedoring and port operations industry. Since the Council acts as a catalyst, the strength of the Council is the product of what the individual Members contribute and how much use they make of the potential network of contacts.
2. Second, the Council acts to promote the involvement of, and training for, the next generation of leaders for the stevedoring/ports business through the holding of its’ own Management Courses.
The founder members recognized that the members who possessed the vision to embrace the future would be the leaders in our industry tomorrow, and the Council will continue to actively promote the spirit of its founders.