UKLA President’s Report

I write this in early January as we embark on another eventful year, for the global economy, for our industry, and of course for the UK with the ongoing machinations on Brexit.

We live in a “VUCA” world, with greater Volatility and speed of change; greater Uncertainty, with less predictability and more surprises; greater Complexity; and much more Ambiguity than ever before.

All years have their own character, but it feels to me that 2019 is a “watershed” year : will the world economy see a significant slowdown, after nearly ten years of growth since the financial crisis? Will the USA and China reach an agreement over trade which may prevent a global downturn?

In our industry in Europe, the ACEA 2016 specification changes are now fully in place since December 2018, and we have less than a year to go to the International Maritime Organization’s new regulations come into force with the new global sulphur cap of

UEIL President’s Report

I hope you all enjoyed a relaxing Christmas and New Year break, and on behalf of the entire UEIL team I would like to wish you all the best for a successful 2019!

2018 has been a very good year for UEIL with many positive highlights: two new members joined our association, we officially launched our Sustainability Task Force at the October 2018 General Assembly, our online presence was bolstered thanks to the launch of our new Twitter and LinkedIn profiles, we continued our valuable collaboration with our sister associations across the world, and – last but not least – enjoyed a very successful Congress in Budapest, Hungary, when, for the first time, we started looking into the big trends affecting our industry in a updated, more interactive program.

So, what does 2019 hold for UEIL? We will kick start the year with our first Board and Committees meetings at the end of January in Brussels, where we will discuss our priorities for 2019, many of which follow on from our work in 2018. This year is EU election year, meaning a full-scale change of EU Commissioners and Parliamentarians in the European Commission and European Parliament, respectively. Brexit too will no doubt provide our industry with


0.5% of fuel content on 1st January 2020. And ExxonMobil’s major Group II plant in Rotterdam is anticipated to come on stream in 1Q 2019.

All this against the background of other long term industry trends, including the electrification of car parc and the move away from diesel for new passenger vehicles.

The Brexit saga adds further significant short term and long-term uncertainty, particularly for industries such as the automotive industry. And it is concerning to see Jaguar announcing 5000 job losses in the UK, linked to the ‘perfect storm’ of the China slowdown, the consumer confusion on diesel, and Brexit.

So a challenging and changing environment in which to navigate for all of us through 2019, but one also with many opportunities for the brave! Welcome to VUCA in 2019!

David Hopkinson, UKLA President

plentiful challenges, and we are closely following the current negotiations on both sides of the English Channel.

We have also worked on the program for the 2019 Congress, which will take place in Cannes, France, from 23 to 25 October 2019. This year, the theme will focus on how the lubricants industry can leverage on positive disruption. Positive disruption is a concept has been floating around for quite some time, but what does it actually mean for our sector? How can our industry continue to grow and expand in a time of fast technological development?

We hope the participants will find the Congress theme insightful and valuable, and that the topics will engage all delegates in discussions as lively and enjoyable as last year in Budapest.

Stay tuned for more information about the Congress, and we look forward to seeing you in Cannes!

All the best for 2019! Best wishes, Valentina Serra-Holm, UEIL President

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