Drawing its membership from Geneva-based trading firms and banks, the Geneva Shipping & Trading Association has been formed to represent  the  interests of the Geneva-based community involved in international trade, freighting of goods and financing, and services related to it.

The  association  will aim to work  in the interest of its members in cooperation with the  local Swiss authorities, while contributing to the promotion of the canton of Geneva as a centre  of  worldwide know-how  in  the  domain of international trade, shipping and their financing.

The  association has started with 17 members, including commodity trading firms Kofisa, Vitol, Louis Dreyfus Commodities Suisse, Addax & Oryx, Bunge Europe, Cargill International, Gunvor, Litasco, Mercuria, MSC Mediterranean Shipping. These companies trade in oil, gas, sugar, cereals and other commodities.

The founding bank members are BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse, Credit Agricole, UBS, ING and Banque Cantonale de Geneve, as well as security and inspection company SGS.

More members are expected to join in coming months, say association spokesmen.

Geert Descheemaeker is the association’s secretary general, while BNP Paribas (Suisse)’s commodity trade finance global head Jean-Luc Thomann is president and Cargill International’s CEO Norman Hay is vice-president.