IATA WCS addresses the challenges ahead

Source: IATA. Brendan Sullivan

It is my pleasure to extend a warm welcome to the IATA World Cargo Symposium in Istanbul. As we gather in this historic city, we are reminded of its legacy as a hub of commerce and trade, and it is fitting that we come together here to discuss the future of the air cargo industry, which plays a crucial role in global trade.

The past year has been challenging for air cargo due to Covid-19 restrictions in China, an unstable geopolitical climate, and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

As a result of these significant political and economic uncertainties, the performance of the air cargo industry in 2022 declined compared to the exceptional levels of 2021, with demand falling 1.6% below 2019 (pre-pandemic) levels.

However, despite these challenges, there are reasons for optimism. The continuing measures taken by key global governments to fight inflation seem to be working, and the desire to move goods remains strong.

This should provide some respite in what is likely to be a challenging trading environment in the year ahead.

The air cargo industry has demonstrated its resilience by continuing to deliver critical medical supplies and vaccines across the globe and keeping international supply chains open.

This was evident as the industry stepped up to provide humanitarian support in response to the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. Our thoughts are with those affected.

Talking through the issues

At this year’s symposium, we will focus on several priority areas for the air cargo industry. These include achieving our commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050, continuing to modernise processes, finding better solutions for the safe transport of lithium batteries, and attracting new talent to the industry.

As an industry, we have committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, and it is imperative that we work together to achieve this goal. This requires a concerted effort to adopt sustainable practices and technologies such as alternative fuels, energy-efficient aircraft, and operational improvements.

Continuing to modernise processes is another critical priority for the industry. The adoption of digital technologies can help improve efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance the customer experience.

The safe transportation of lithium batteries is another important focus area for the air cargo industry. As demand for these batteries increases, we must find better solutions to transport them safely and securely.

Finally, attracting new talent to the air cargo industry is essential to ensure its long-term success. This requires a concerted effort to promote the industry as an exciting and dynamic career option for young people, as well as investing in robust training and development programmes.

In conclusion, I am excited to engage with all of you at this year’s IATA World Cargo Symposium as we work together to move the air cargo industry forward and address the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

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