IATA sets agenda for air cargo growth
Istanbul, March 8, 2011
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) laid out a four-point agenda for the air cargo value chain to improve its competitiveness at its world cargo symposium in Istanbul.
In his opening remarks to 900 air cargo executives gathered at the symposium, Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s director general and CEO, said, 'The air cargo value chain must offer better quality and improved efficiency with operations that are safer and even more secure.'
'An efficient air cargo industry is in everybody’s interest. Transporting 35 per cent by value of goods traded internationally, it is critical to the global economy. Improving competitiveness to more effectively connect the world requires a team effort across the air cargo value chain,' the official said.
The IATA chief called upon airlines, forwarders and shippers to work with governments on common goals to solve air cargo’s key issues.
Bisignani noted significant progress in collaboration with the US Department of Homeland Security in 2010. He also rang a warning bell that many governments and politicians are working on change to air cargo security that dramatically impacts the business.
'IATA is taking the lead to engage governments with industry knowledge and expertise. Our message to governments is clear. We must resist the knee-jerk call for 100 per cent cargo screening,' he stated.
The industry, Bisignani said, must be secure with effective measures that facilitate the speed needed to support global commerce.
Air cargo security must be based on a combination of three measures - supply chain security, scanning technology and better use of e-freight data,” he added.
IATA’s vision for air cargo security includes a supply chain approach that keeps shipments secure from the time of packing to loading.
IATA’s Secure Freight initiative helps industry and governments to work together on investment, processes, technology and risk assessment to implement a supply chain approach.
Secure Freight is being piloted successfully in Malaysia and the target is for two other countries to implement in 2011, including the UAE. Second, new certified screening equipment is needed to supplement the supply chain security process and handle oversize items and pallets if required.
And third, to facilitate effective risk assessments, better use must be made of electronic information, he stated.
On e-freight, Bisignani said the IATA Board has targeted 10 per cent e-freight volumes on capable trade lanes by the end of 2011, and 100 per cent by 2015.
'The e-freight network covers 80 per cent of cargo volumes. But e-freight penetration stands at just 2.8 per cent. Most governments have legislation that recognizes electronic documentation.'
'The exceptions include Thailand, Indonesia, Russia and Vietnam which much catch-up fast or risk being left behind in this important business,' Bisignani added.
The IATA e-freight program was started in 2004 with the aim of saving the industry $4.9 billion by converting 20+ shipping documents and the processes behind them to electronic format. “It’s a no-brainer. If we can be faster, cheaper, more accurate and secure we need to get it done,” said Bisignani.
“Cargo is a competitive business - 98 per cent of the volume goes by sea and 2 per cent by air. Customers who pay a premium to ship by air demand premium quality. Cargo 2000 has developed cargo standards. These should not be the property of a club of a few committed airlines and freight forwarders.'
'They want to know that their shipments are on time and if they are not, they need to know when to expect them to plan around the delay. This is an example of basic good business practice that air cargo needs to adopt if it is to maintain or improve its competitiveness. My vision is to evolve these to global quality standards by the end of this year,” said Bisignani.
Commenting on the safety, Bisignani said, 'With one accident for every 1.6 million flights in 2010, safety as measured by Western-built jet hull losses achieved a historical low.'
Benefitting from the IATA Operational Safety Audit as a condition of membership, IATA airlines outperformed the industry with one accident for every 4 million flights.
'Safety is our number one priority. The positive numbers from 2010 show the strength of our commitment. This commitment includes constant improvement and there is an emerging risk with internet based commerce that we must address,' he added.-TradeArabia News Service