WUWM Conference Declaration, Thessaloniki, Greece

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May 20, 2014

On the occasion of the World Union of Wholesale Markets (WUWM) Conference held in Thessaloniki, Greece under the theme "Markets: Platforms for Logistical Excellence", 156 professionals from 26 countries gathers today to express unanimous agreement of the following:

-SMEs. The activities of the "Central Market of Thessaloniki" have a significant economic impact on the Region of Central Macedonia, as more than 300 wholesale companies of fruits, vegetables and meat operate at the market, supplying about 40% of the consumption of these products in the city of Thessaloniki and catchment area. At the same time, a large share (over 30%) of the products traded at the market is exported abroad, mainly to neighbouring countries. Most of these companies are small and medium local companies.

As well as in Thessaloniki Wholesale Market, small and medium companies (SMEs) are the most numerous and frequent type of company at wholesale food markets worldwide. In this regard and specifically with relation to Europe, the WUWM wants to highlight that, according to information of the European Union, the SMEs are the backbone of the European economy, with approximately 20 million companies of this type, which represent 98 % of the business and employ approximately 87 million persons.

 -Wholesale markets as food logistic platforms. Wholesale markets around the world have made significative achievements in including within their premises and services offer a range of modern logistics to the food wholesalers and retailers that improve the efficiency of the food supply chain, and increase the Added Value of the wholesale function. Wholesale market owners and managers expressed his conviction that this path must be intensified on a continue basis, in order to reinforce the role of wholesale markets as real food logistic platforms.

-Financing markets: challenges and opportunities. Securing initial financing as well as the development of a long term financial strategy is paramount to the sustainability of a food market. In this aspect, there should not be any differences in financial challenges faced by private markets and public markets.

Independently of the character of public service and of general interest that the wholesale markets have in wide number of countries, the financial management of the Market should pursue business profits to ensure the Market remains economically sustainable and sell-sufficient, even in the case of state-owned or municipal-owned wholesale markets.

Experience shows that the economic and financial sustainability of the wholesale market companies is a requisite for the long term feasibility and proper operation of the markets, regardless if public or private.

The character of the Markets public service is widely recognized in the legislations of many countries and specially valued in those developing countries that are presently planning, constructing or refurbishing this type of commercial infrastructures

-Innovative market management. The WUWM is conscious of the importance of the management innovation, particularly reflected as a strategy aimed to undertake new activities and services and to use more efficient criteria of management to ensure efficient and effective markets. The continual focus of market management to the trends and behaviour of the clients of the markets and of the clients of these, are indispensable factors to make innovations and improvements possible in the management of the markets.

The wholesale markets, should continually strive to have a highly professional and innovative management team, which allows the Wholesale Management Company to compete as company in competitive conditions and generates a favourable environment for the growth of the companies wholesalers food and of services that operate in his interior.

 -"Love your local markets" campaign. The WUWM calls all market associates and supporters to join in 2015 to the "International Market Celebration". This is a joint international celebration promoted by WUWM to be launched in this 2014 with a core of retail markets in some cities. The idea is to include other WUWM member markets and countries in 2015, gradually increasing the number of participating markets in the years to come.

One of the primary aims of this event, among others, is to strengthen the wholesale and retail markets position in the local government agenda - both nationally and regionally.

May 16th 2014 - Thessaloniki, Greece