For the first time in Latvia was held the worldwide logistics conference which united together the best logistics professionals from all over the world. Professional Forwarders International (PFI) Worldwide Network conference took place from the 27th of April until the 1st of May at Radisson Blu Hotel Latvia. It was already the 7th PFI conference and, despite the fact that most of the network members are from Asia, Africa and America, it was organized in Europe. Overall, the conference in Latvia brought together more than 100 representatives from 90 countries and 61 company. Latvia and the Baltic States were represented by logistics company SONORA which got the rights to become as the Host of PFI 7th Annual General Meeting.
PFI or Professional Forwarders International network was founded in 2008 and since then brings together the best national freight forwarders all around the world. At the moment PFI is represented by 615 companies from 188 countries. That shows a huge transnational and business development potential. From each country (with the exception of very large and powerful countries such as China and the US) membership is opened only for one company from each country. To become as a PFI member, company needs to meet certain quality criteria and should be one of leading forwarding companies in the country. SONORA is the only company from the Baltic States that has been able to enter into the PFI organization. In seven years SONORA has represented Latvia with honour, dignity and responsibility and has proved that Latvia is a great country with huge potential in many spheres. Therefore, PFI members gave their votes for SONORA to become as a Host of the 7th Annual General Meeting (AGM) conference. Moreover- until now the only country from Europe which was able to organize the PFI conference was Portugal.

From the 27th of April until 1st of May at the Radisson Blu Hotel Latvia was held the 7th PFI Worldwide Network AGM in which took part more than 100 delegates from 90 countries. Basically, the conference was represented by Asian and African countries – including Qatar, Egypt, Mexico, Ghana, Libya, China, Tunisia, etc. Among the members were guests from America, Canada, former CIS countries and Russia as well. The official Opening of the PFI conference was held on the 28th of April, by discussing and presenting latest data of logistics and also making some forecast in the future. Opening speeches and presentations were held by SONORA Board Member Mr Andis Veinbergs and by PFI President Mr. Bob Messenger. The conference continued by New members’ presentations as well as by discussions about the latest trends in logistics, followed by contact exchange at One on One Meetings or matchmaking. The main purpose of the conference was to improve cooperation among forwarders in order to develop import and export cargo flows. During the conference SONORA organized several meetings between PFI delegates and Latvian exporting companies to give them an insight in Latvian economics and business environment. For Latvia`s entrepreneurs it gave new opportunities to develop business internationally. As acknowledged the president of PFI: “Latvia is a great place where to encourage and promote the flow of goods and it has a great potential for the business development in the future. Also, SONORA has successfully demonstrated that the Latvian companies are trustful and that they can create new business ideas. Latvian market is very interesting! We are also very pleasantly surprised by Latvian hospitality and the beautiful culture. Latvia is a place where we will certainly come back one day!”

During these four days of the PFI conference SONORA had a great opportunity to present Latvia as a competitive country in international market and by showing that in logistics we have a huge potential and that we can offer worldwide logistics thanks to our highly developed ports and services. Must admit, that the greatest advantage of Latvia is that we have an access to the Baltic sea as well as Rail Roads to the CIS countries. For Asian and African countries these are new areas which to develop.

At the same time this conference was not only about obtaining new contacts and establishing new business opportunities. Most of the participants visited Latvia for the first time, therefore it was a great opportunity to get acquainted with Latvian culture, nature and traditions. Moreover, this was the first time when PFI conference was organized in such an “exotic” place as Northern Europe (usually it was held in tropical places). SONORA did its best and took care of guests by making feel them very special and comfortable during the whole stay. Starting with business negotiations and discussions during the daytime and finishing with generous variety of entertainment and cultural events in evenings – traditional dinner and Latvian Folk dances, musical performances and special shows with the performances of famous Latvian artists and a Gala dinner in a National theme. Every year the conference Host needs to present their charity project and this year was not an exception – for this year SONORA had chosen their New and upcoming project: creating a social enterprise for disabled people and people with special needs. During the conference delegates donated money for the start-up of this project. In nearest time Latvia`s society will be more wildly introduced with this project.

As admitted PFI members, this had been one of the greatest conferences which they have ever attended, and about Latvia as a country they have established only the best impression – it is definitely a place where to return again and again. The board member of SONORA Mr. Andis Veinbergs explained that this conference was very important for Latvia: “We are very proud that in these five days we managed to bring together so many representatives from all continents and all over the world. This conference was important not only for us as a company, but as well as for other Latvian exporters. Meetings with forwarders helped them to create new business opportunities which will draw a positive future for Latvian economy. We are truly proud that we succeeded not only in giving a valuable insight into Latvia`s business environment, but also by representing Latvian culture and traditions. In the future we see positive tendencies for the development and by exploring new markets.”
Although the next year PFI conference will be held in other country, a lot of agents are already planning their visits to Latvia to develop their new business ideas and cooperation with Latvian entrepreneurs.