Shippers to be centre stage at TIACA’s Air Cargo Forum

Chris Welsh, secretary general, Global Shippers’ Forum, previews Tiaca’s Air Cargo Forum event in his regular column for Air Cargo News
TIACA and the Global Shippers’ Forum (GSF) have teamed up in an unprecedented way to ensure that shippers’ views are at the centre of discussions at the Air Cargo Forum (ACF) in Paris, 26-28 October.
As well as participating in key conference sessions, GSF will be hosting two workshop sessions. The first, in conjunction with Cargo iQ, focuses on how the supply chain working in unison can optimise the performance of air cargo by building on existing work on airline performance [Connecting the links to a high-performance supply chain].
The second explores innovative ways in which air cargo performance can be enhanced and, by eliminating red-tape, cut the door-to-door air cargo chain by a half [Quicker, slicker air cargo].
Both sessions will include air cargo innovators, seasoned industry experts, and top international regulators to report on progress on key projects and the measures underway to transform the performance of the air cargo supply chain.
For example, when it comes to innovation in the air cargo sector, few can match the enthusiasm and ‘can-do’ attitude of Robert Mellin from Eriksson, a leading shipper advocate, who is spearheading a new industry project aimed at transforming performance by working on new data systems to speed up messaging and to speed up air cargo through the entire supply chain.
He will be joined by Boubacar Djibo, director of ICAO’s Transport Bureau, who is responsible for developing ICAO’s air cargo strategy, including looking at how customs procedures can be further simplified and, at a higher blue skies level, at a multilateral air cargo liberalisation agreement, which could potentially cut significantly the regulatory burdens imposed on air cargo.
The metamorphic development of Cargo 2000 into Cargo iQ is not, in my view, just a slick rebranding exercise (although it is that as well) of a faded project, but a clear statement of intent by leading carriers, forwarders and cargo handlers to improve industry standards and performance.
Whereas Cargo 2000 often gave the impression of being an exclusive airline club with limited interaction with other stakeholders, especially shippers, Cargo iQ under the leadership of Ariaen Zimm-ermann seems to be altogether much more inclusive and understanding of the need to translate its work in developing industry standards into demonstrable improvements in air cargo performance.
The GSF will be assisting Cargo iQ in making this work more accessible to shippers and will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Cargo iQ in Paris to formalise how we can work together to achieve those objectives.
Our aim at ACF is to position shippers at the centre of the air cargo industry. If that sounds like an overblown or over ambitious claim, it’s not meant to be, it is merely reminding providers, whether they are carriers, forwarders or cargo handlers and those that report on the air cargo industry, that it is there to serve and meet the needs of its end customers: the shippers and consumers.
It is therefore incumbent on GSF to clearly articulate the needs of customers and to work with the industry and regulators to ensure that they are in a position to meet customer needs.
To that end, and with the support of TIACA, the GSF will be hosting the Shippers’ Pavilion at ACF.
We aim to showcase shippers’ policies and to facilitate contact bet-ween shippers at the ACF and their suppliers.
Going forward, we will strengthen our links with the air cargo industry. In that regard, key shippers and GSF members will be contributing directly to TIACA’s newly established Shippers’ Advisory Group to help shape TIACA’s air cargo policies and strategies.
We will also be stepping up our game in representing shippers internationally by signing an MOU with ICAO to ensure that shippers have independent and direct influence in shaping air transport policies at the highest levels.

Chris Welsh, secretary general, Global Shippers’ Forum

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