IATA cargo symposium outlines industry agenda

Following its second World Annual Cargo Symposium, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called for the air cargo supply chain to coordinate its efforts to drive forward an industry agenda for change.
Giovanni Bisignani, director general of IATA, highlighted a number of issues at World Cargo Synposium.
Giovanni Bisignani, director general of IATA, highlighted a number of issues at World Cargo Synposium.

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Following its second World Annual Cargo Symposium, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called for the air cargo supply chain to coordinate its efforts to drive forward an industry agenda for change.

Around 900 airfreight officials from around the globe attended the event in Rome, which identified four areas in which the supply chain could improve customer service and competitiveness. These are safety, security, quality, efficiency and the environment, details of which are outlined below.

"Air cargo is a US$50 billion business that is losing competitiveness. World trade grew 7.5% last year and our growth forecast for this year is 4.0%," said Giovanni Bisignani, director general and CEO, IATA.

"Our sea competitors are gaining market share with faster ships, lower prices and innovative solutions. And new capacity coming into the market - 200 to 300 wide bodies entering the market each year to 2011 - will put even greater pressure on yields. This is a tough business that is only getting tougher. The only way to succeed is to please the customer," he added.

IATA is widely considered as one of the leading voices for change within the air cargo industry. Over the least four years its network grew by 60% and the IATA Cargo Settlement System (CASS) now handles US$21 billion annually. With operations in 72 countries, its influence is notable in the Middle East and representatives from Emirates SkyCargo and Etihad Crystal Cargo attended the recent symposium.

"The new format of the IATA cargo week is really beginning to pay dividends where the IATA working committees are able to benefit from the various industry tracks set up where the latest challenges and issues are discussed and the takeaway issue are worked upon," said Ram Menen, divisional senior vice president, cargo, Emirates.

With a growing number of initiatives aimed specifically at the air cargo sector, such as E-freight, IATA believes that the industry can overcome current challenges through greater collaboration across the supply chain.

"Air cargo is a tough business. The priorities are clear: to provide safe and secure transport that is environmentally responsible with consistent quality and lower costs," commented Bisignani.

IATA'Ã four point agenda

Safety: Last year there were 16 cargo accidents accounting for 16% of the industry total. Down from the 25% recorded in 2006, IATA believes this it is still not good enough. 136 airlines are on the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) registry but cargo is behind with only one airline on the registry. IATA's goal is to bring all carriers on board by the end of the year.

Security: IATA has labelled security a "US$5.9 billion uncoordinated mess for the air transport industry". To address this, the association feels the Air Cargo Security Industry Forum is key to influencing regulators with a common message and coordinated action. IATA wants to work towards internationally recognised security accreditation standards and a security audit. This includes a global registry of secure supply chain operators, including known shipper details to be used by regulators and the supply chain.

Efficiency and Quality: Cargo 2000 was established over a decade ago to simplify processes and implement effective quality standards from order to delivery. IATA now believes there is a need to move faster to increase Cargo 2000 participation and implementation. It also believes "E-freight is the answer to our customers' call for lower costs, improved reliability and more speed" and has set a target to expand the initiative's benefits to another eight locations in 2008.

Environment: IATA urges the industry to work towards a common goal of carbon neutral growth leading to a carbon free future. Please refer to this month's environment special for full details.

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