15 June 2015

What happened at Fumicon 2015

Set in the historic Suffolk Port of Felixstowe, the fumigation conference returned in 2015 in the guise of Fumicon, proving to be a huge success with experts delivering a variety of seminars. Exhibitors, speakers and visitors attended from across the globe so there truly was an international atmosphere, proving that pest control transcends all boundaries.

Martin Cobbald, Chairman of BPCA's Fumigation and Controlled Environments Forum (FACE) started the day's proceedings by welcoming attendees and as a local to the Suffolk area provided some local history and anecdotes, setting the tone of day. Martin was followed by some diverse and interesting (if not sometimes scary) speakers bringing different aspects of pest control and fumigation together in a professional and entertaining manner.

Belgian speaker Peter Meeus from EWS Fumigation delivered a technically informative presentation discussing the risks presented by residual fumigants and other volatile organic compounds that are present in imported freight containers and explained the work done in Holland to develop testing systems to combat these issues. All done in perfect English and handled with great humour and enthusiasm. Dave Hammond from Thermokil gave an insightful presentation about heat treatment as an alternative solution to mainstream biocidal pest control whilst sharing his professional experience within the industry and some humorous anecdotes of work situations and clients.

Guy Collyer of Interpol gave one of the most interesting and possibly frightening presentations of the day discussing emerging technologies and the threats they bring to our security and safety. Drawing on the experience of Interpol's work and relating real world situations, Guy's talk gave food for thought about how the pest control industry overlaps with the dark net, terrorism and the constant battle to maintain global security.

The seminars finished up with Peter Slipenchuk from Vector Fog displaying the latest in ULV fogger technology and discussing the benefits to pest controllers and their clients.

The speakers were extremely professional and captivating whilst being informative, funny and interesting. The Q&A sessions gave great opportunities to engage with the audience and all the speakers drew on personal experience to emphasise and add meaning to their areas of expertise.

As David Himsworth from BPCA Member ADH Baseline put it "The speakers were especially technically informative and I must say very able entertainers adding some interesting information in the context of real-life situations."

Lunch provided a chance for attendees to refresh, prepare for the afternoon's activity and carry out some much-needed networking. We heard of at least one international fumigation project that was set up over the sandwiches!

After refuelling, attendees were treated to a tour of Felixstowe Port by the team from Hutchinson Whampoa, who control the port. Felixstowe is an impressive 900 acres and is Britain's busiest container port, dealing with 42% of Britain's containerised trade. The afternoon encompassed a full tour, showing the impressive workings of the port, highlighting the logistical issues that are faced along with the rich history of the port and the central role Felixstowe plays in Britain's import and export industry. Hutchinson Whampoa explained how they are introducing new technologies and logistical improvements to make the port more efficient and ultimately more profitable. Attendees were also able to see the role pest control and fumigation plays in the work of the port and, drawing on Peter Meeus's talk, were able to fully appreciate and understand the challenges and issues that the import and export industry faces.

The tour provided a change of pace and something different that finished the day nicely, allowing delegates to share common interests while exploring the facilities.

"All credit to BPCA, they have been able to bring people from different countries together and given them the opportunity to meet their peers and gain information of real value to their companies." Dr Marshard Kharusy, Sur Overseas.

Overall, Fumicon proved to be a huge success and gave an appetite for the next one-day conference in a similar format. If you'd like BPCA to cover a particular topic, why not email with your ideas. Who knows - the next event might be one you helped create!


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