IATA WCS 2023 to focus on sustainability, safety and digitalisation

Sustainability, safety and digitalisation will be the focus of the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) World Cargo Symposium later this month.

Taking place in Istanbul, Turkey from April 25-27, the WCS will encompass conference sessions, workshops and executive summits, tackling issues related to technology and innovation, security and customs, cargo operations and sustainability.

Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general, said: “Air cargo is operating at nearly pre-pandemic levels. But the way it operates has changed dramatically. This is due to a convergence of economic and geo-political forces, continuing priorities on improving sustainability, safety, and reliability, as well as emerging opportunities with new markets, technologies, and digitalization.

“This year’s WCS will explore how to keep air cargo profitable while addressing these priorities, challenges, and opportunities.”

Session tracks will cover several key aspects of safety, sustainability, and digitalisation. This includes lithium batteries, ULD and operations, ESG reporting in air cargo, reducing plastic waste in the air cargo industry, attracting and retaining talent, e-commerce, air cargo market dynamics, digital distribution and booking, and Digital Cargo and ONE Record.

Walsh, and Brendan Sullivan, IATA’s global head of cargo, will be speaking at the event along with Ahmet Bolat, chairman of the board of directors and the executive committee, Turkish Airlines; Mehmet Tevfik Nane, chairperson of the board of directors of Pegasus Airlines and chair of the IATA board of governors; Kendra Kincade, president and chief executive, Elevate Aviation; Marco Bloemen, managing director Accenture and head of Seabury Cargo; Steve Smith, president & chief executive, Airlink; and Turhan Ozen, chief cargo officer at Turkish Airlines.

The WCS programme will also include a special session on the vital role of air cargo in humanitarian efforts. This session will have a particular focus on recent efforts to deliver aid to people in Turkey and Syria affected by the devastating earthquakes in the region. 

“Air cargo plays a critical role in delivering aid to those in need. The industry’s recent mobilization to provide support to the people of Türkiye and Syria affected by the tragedy is the latest example. With this year’s WCS being hosted in Türkiye, it’s the perfect opportunity to reflect on the role that air transport plays so that airlines are even better prepared for the next humanitarian crisis,” said Sullivan.

The WCS programme will be complemented by a series of workshops, including one on the benefits of competency-based training through IATA’s Competency-Based Training and Assessment Center (CBTA Center) and how it helps to improve workplace safety and performance; and improving performance on key market segments using IATA Center of Excellence for Independent Validators CEIV programmes (CEIV Pharma, CEIV Live Animals, CEIV Lithium Batteries and CEIV Fresh).

There will also be a workshop on how DG AutoCheck, CargoIS, Net Rates and CO2 Connect, are assisting the industry in decision making and cargo compliance, towards improving safety and efficiency; an interactive e-commerce think tank to identify how more transparency in e-commerce would benefit stakeholders; and the Future Air Cargo Executives Summit (FACES) to address talent attraction and retention.

The winner of the fourth edition of the IATA Air Cargo Innovation Awards, which recognises new solutions, concepts and ideas that contribute to air logistics’ digitalisation, sustainability, safety and security, will also be decided at WCS.  

Three finalists will be invited to present their projects during the conference. Delegates will then vote for their preferred innovation and the winners will be announced at the closing plenary of WCS.





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