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Polish auto recyclers conference raises many issues

Polish auto recyclers
A recent visit to the Polish Auto Recyclers Conference made it quite clear that we all have the same problems and need to work more closely together.

Poland recently held their annual recycling conference organised by the Polish Automotive Recycling Association, FORS, and regular contributor and Head of Autofinity Parts, Andy Latham was invited to address the audience. These were Andy’s thoughts about the visit.

This one day conference had a national and international flavour to it, with speakers from Poland, Switzerland, Estonia, Russia and Nigeria presenting to the 200 + delegates. Language was not an issue as the organisers had employed the services of specialist interpreters who were able to translate the seminars from Polish to English or from English to Polish as required through headsets that were given out to all delegates.

The day started with a review of the last ten years in automotive recycling across Poland and the immense changes they had seen in that time in the types of vehicles in use and being recycled, working practices and standards, and went on to include presentations on current market trends in Nigeria; how to utilise e-bay to sell more parts; changes in vehicle technology that are impacting the recycling industry now, and future technology that will change how vehicles are dismantled and processed; advances in standards that need to be achieved for increased sales and future prosperity; the value of raw materials and much more.

The challenges currently faced by the industry in Poland reflect similar issues that are seen in many other countries, namely the continued rise of illegal (or ‘grey zone’) vehicle dismantlers and parts sellers; regulation and taxation concerns from the fully licensed, professional dismantlers who by complying with legislation are then the subject of further checks, controls, cost and paperwork; and the need to raise standards and quality so the industry can attract new purchasers of their products. Additionally, a recent EU decision that subsidies being paid to legal dismantlers to process end of life vehicles are illegal has meant that these subsidies are being phased out, putting additional pressure on margins and profitability.

Lively discussion ensued with some of the government representatives in the audience about regulation of ‘grey zone’ dismantlers, tax and excise duty. The day ended with a rallying call from Mr Adam Matyszko, president of FORS who called upon the delegates to work together to make a difference, raise quality and standards and drive the industry forward.

For me the day proved that we are truly a global industry, the needs and wants of the industry across the world are very similar - training, development, parts data and interchange, knowledge, standards, quality, networking, sharing of best practices and effective control of illegal operators. The day also proved that we can all make a difference, individually, collectively, nationally and globally. This all starts at home, where we all have the opportunity to set the standards and promote these standards to our peers and then to get involved with our national organisations where we can challenge them to work internationally so that the whole industry can raise standards, eradicate the illegal operators, get parts data and much more.

I was also delighted to be given the opportunity to visit a local vehicle recycler the following morning, slightly hampered by the snow that fell overnight, I was able to see the vehicle de-polluting and dismantling area, vehicle storage and parts storage areas and crushing. The whole yard was paved with sealed drainage and interceptors, the dismantling area and parts storage both indoor and everything catalogued in their bespoke yard management system.

My congratulations to the whole team at FORS who put together this excellent conference, for the choices of subjects, speakers and venue, and for making it truly international. Well Done.

January 2017

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