Ron Willis founded R W Freight Services in 1971; the company prospered because it was one of the first to offer customers the benefits and cost-savings of the new roll-on/roll-off shipping services to Norway. From these beginnings, the company gradually became an acknowledged specialist for the Scandinavian/Nordic countries of Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark.
In response to customer needs, and growing trade with the Far East and China, R W Freight Services can now offer the full range of international freight and shipping solutions, under the management of Ron’s two sons.
Before joining the world of freight, Ron was involved in the insurance industry. This gave him an interest in liability and legal matters, and in 1981 he became Chairman of the then Institute of Freight Forwarders (IFF) Standard Trading Conditions (STCs) Review committee. This gave him a major role in developing and producing the 1984 version of the Institute’s Standard Trading Conditions.
The Institute of Freight Forwarders changed its name in the late 1980s to the British International Freight Association (BIFA), and Ron continued his role as Chairman of BIFA’s Legal and Insurance Policy Group. In this capacity, he led the development of the subsequent 1989, 2000, and 2005 Editions of BIFA STCs.
He was National Chairman of the British International Freight Association in 1991/93 and was also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport.
Between the years of 2003 and 2007, Ron played a vital part in lobbying the Treasury, the Financial Services Authority and European Commission about the application of the Insurance Mediation Directive to freight forwarders. Before this Directive was enacted, freight companies had been allowed to act as an intermediary in offering Marine Open Cover insurance policies to their customers. The Directive, as applied in the UK, meant that forwarders could only continue to do this, if they completed an expensive process of registration with the FSA. The cost of this was prohibitive for many small freight forwarders.
Representatives of BIFA argued their case for exemption from the registration process; in October 2007 the Treasury announced that the exemption was agreed. As BIFA Director General Colin Beaumont said; “It is not my practice to single out individuals who support the Association. However, in this exceptional instance, I must pay tribute to Ron Willis, Chairman of our Legal and Insurance Policy Group and a Vice-Presdent of BIFA, who kept me focused and motivated when the case so often seemed lost.”
Ron has received two special awards for his commitment to the Freight Forwarding Industry; the first from FIATA in 2002, ‘in recognition of his outstanding services’ and the second from BIFA in 2005, to honour his contribution to the association over the past twenty years.
Ron died on 6 October 2015
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