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UEPG making sure the European aggregates sector voice is heard by EU

First publishedin Aggregates Business Europe
2016 November December
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Guy Woodford, Editor
Guy Woodford, Editor

I’m getting to know Brussels quite well this autumn. An Aggregates Business Europe colleague and I were in the city recently for an extremely interesting meeting with UEPG executives. As well as passionately and pro-actively promoting the interests of its national European aggregate association members’ in its dealings with EU decision makers, the UEPG has a huge body of ongoing work covering areas such as the new Circular Economy Package, aggregate production health & safety, the quarrying environment and aggregates recycling.

As I write this column, I’m preparing to travel back out to Belgium’s capital to attend the UEPG Sustainable Development Awards 2016. The tri-annual event is a milestone gathering in the UEPG calendar, and I’m looking forward to hearing the stories of some of the award winners, made up of aggregate producers from all corners of Europe.

After visiting the UEPG offices next to the European Parliament, my colleague and I travelled on to ABE-related company visits in Holland. Over the next two days, we heard lots of exciting product and business news from Hitachi Construction Machinery (Europe), Ritchie Bros., Topcon, and Magna Tyres. You’ll read about some of what we heard in this current issue of ABE, and much more in January-February 2017 issue, which will include an interview with Hitachi Construction Machinery (Europe) President, Makoto Yamazawa. Mr Yamazawa is also Hitachi’s regional President for Middle East, North, West and Central Africa. His comments on Hitachi’s plans across those markets will be of strong interest, too, to readers of our sister publication, Aggregates Business International – Asia, Africa & Middle East.

I’ve already mentioned seeing Ritchie Bros. during my recent trip to Holland, and the impressive nature of the Canadian used construction equipment onsite and online auction giant’s European HQ in Breda gives an indication of a company on the up. Indeed, Ritchie Bros. recent multi-million euro acquisition of IronPlanet and its new strategic alliance with Caterpillar, which will see Ritchie Bros. become Caterpillar's preferred global partner for live onsite and online auctions of used Caterpillar equipment, are among the topics covered in this issue’s interview with Ritchie Bros. CEO, Ravi Saligram.

Meanwhile, this issue’s Quarry Profile saw me travel to one of Europe’s largest quarries – Seepsula’s Senkkeri site near Helsinki in Finland. The huge quarry produces 2.2 million-2.5 million tonnes of granite rock aggregate a year, and I learned how its workforce are successfully running two production lines after a major investment in early 2016 in new Sandvik Mining & Rock Technology crushing and screening models.

Our Market Report this issue looks at aggregate demand among Finland’s Scandinavian neighbours, Sweden, Norway and Denmark – all nations, like Finland, with a rich heritage in aggregate production and also, in Sweden’s case, in particular, quarry-based equipment manufacturing.

In between putting ABE September-October 2016 to bed and publishing this latest ABE edition, I’ve also been over to Co.Laois in Ireland to see how the very first Terex Washing Systems AggreSand 165 wash plant sold is maintaining its strong level of performance, three years after being purchased by Humphrey Dowling, of Dowling Quarries. You can read my first-hand quarry report on the model’s Irish beginnings inside this edition.

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