During the Second World War all activity in the Belgian harbours ceased. It was then that the shipsuppliers first decided to hold a series of meetings. This resulted in the formation of a professional association on November the 13th 1940 known as the Belgian Shipsuppliers Association.
The request by our Association that a Ship Suppliers Department be established within the Antwerp Chamber of Commerce was approved on June 1st 1942.

On November 10th 1944 a pool was established in cooperation with the Intelligence Services to supply the ships of the Allied Forces.

In November 1945 our Association was charged with the supervision and distribution of all rationed goods intended for ship supplies. However, as the articles of our Association did not permit it to trade commercially, a temporary commercial partnership was set up under the name of UBAN Pool.

When on December 31st 1948 rationing was cancelled the UBAN Pool was closed down and relieved of its functions.

The Years After

During the years after the war, the Association prospered slowly but surely. Major problems were resolved by the Association for its members and it was kept fully occupied with such divers matters as admission cards giving access to the port of Antwerp, providing information concerning the continually changing customs regulations, joining the National Equal Rights Committee for Foreign Affairs and generally obtaining favourable terms for the Belgian ship suppliers.

A further memorable date was October 21st 1955 when the Chairman of our Association attended the founders meeting of I.S.S.A. (the International Ship Suppliers Association) held in Copenhagen.

I.S.S.A. quickly became a recognised international authority and played an important role in setting-up international contacts and providing regulations for ship suppliers in general.

In 1961 I.S.S.A. produced the first register of all its members.

In that same year, the Belgian Shipsuppliers Association was officially recognised by the Customs Administration and accepted as the interlocutor representing the interest of all its members.

In 1965 the first I.S.S.A. Newsletter was published.

New Developments

Hesitatingly, the European Market made its appearance and new technological innovations were not far behind.

The possibility of supplying ship stores in containers was discussed for the first time in 1967.

In 1968 V.A.T. (Value Added Tax) was introduced and also the ship suppliers had to confirm to these changing times. Fortunately, after fruitful negociations with the fiscal authorities, our association was exempted from VAT. Ship supplies were considered as being an exportation and consequently free of V.A.T. Nonetheless, these changed standards required a new type of bookkeeping and standardized invoicing procedures.

In 1975 the Association joined the “Groupement Patronal des Bureaux Commerciaux et Maritimes”.

On September 7th 1976 the Association’s Chairman announced the formation of a new organisation, O.C.E.A.N. (Organisation de la Communauté Européenne des Avitailleurs de Navires), whose principal role was, and still is, to protect and defend the interests of the ship suppliers within the E.E.C..

In 1977 I.S.S.A. published a catalogue for the benefit of the trade in general in which all articles usually purchased by vessels were itemised and coded. This catalogue is regurarly up-dated.

The Present

The EEC brought with it not solely advantages, but also many problems. For example, goods subject to intervention, Custom bonded warehouses for ships stores and Customs documents.

In 1983 the subject was raised to included the ship suppliers in the Yellow Pages under a separate heading and to obtain a protection statute for our profession.

The following years saw a considerable increase in the political and technical problems within the EEC which our Association had to deal with. Time and time again, it proved its value and ability in defending the rights and interests of its members.

In 1990 our Association celebrated its 50th birthday. In recognition of the efforts given by the past chairmen and members, on behalf of our profession during half a century, the Association received the statue of Royal Association and is henceforth known as The Royal Belgian Shipsuppliers Association.

An honour and a tribute well deserved.

Nowadays we are concentrating our attention on the problems that arose in 1993 with the advant of a Single European Market.