Thursday, November 4, 2010

International Air Freight Associations Unify To Create One Voice For World Cargo

TIACA, IATA, FIATA and GSF commit to form industry advisory group
Shipping News Feature

WORLD WIDE - The largest air freight bodies have joined together to present a united front to regulatory authorities globally and ensure their views carry the maximum weight. Michael Steen, Vice Chairman of The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) on behalf of the Chairman, Des Vertannes, Global Head of Cargo of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Jean-Claude Delen, President of FIATA, the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations,, and Peter J. Gatti, Executive Vice President of the U.S. based shipper organization, The National Industrial Transportation League (NITL) speaking on behalf of the Global Shippers’ Forum (GSF) have signed a letter of intent committing to work towards the formation of an industry advisory group facilitated by TIACA to ensure the air cargo industry has a strong, unified voice.

The agreement commits TIACA, GSF, FIATA and IATA to work together to look at their current positions on issues such as security, customs reform, e-Commerce, and the environment and to try to find common ground to best protect and promote the interests of the air cargo industry, the organizations and its customers. The review will also look at the associations’ respective resources committed to industry affairs and consider how to make the most effective use of the existing and growing relationships TIACA, GSF, FIATA and IATA have with relevant government departments and other regulatory bodies.

The associations will also discuss the involvement of other global industry groups in the air cargo supply chain and seek the support of bodies such as the World Customs Organization (WCO). Michael Steen said:

“TIACA, GSF, FIATA and IATA will continue to operate as they do today in terms of how they support their respective memberships. This initiative is to look at how we can combine our respective strengths, contacts and resources in the area of regulatory affairs. We are delighted that both FIATA and IATA have so readily committed to this important initiative for our industry, and that GSF has joined this effort. We all hope for a positive outcome over the next few months.

“Collectively we represent the most powerful grouping of all parties involved in the air cargo supply chain. We all share a common goal to protect our members against costly and sometimes unnecessary changes in legislation and to have a practical input into any future regulatory challenges before they become mandatory. We also want to have the strongest possible voice when it comes to highlighting to policy makers the vital role air cargo plays in world trade, in employment, in consumer choice and in the growth of developing markets.”

IATA boss Giovanni Bisignani added:

“By value 35% of goods traded internationally travel by air cargo. In volume, that’s 26 million tons of cargo annually. Without air cargo, the global economy cannot function. The industry is working together to improve efficiency with programs like IATA e-freight. But governments have not always received clear signals from industry on what is needed for efficient global air cargo operations. A strong and unified industry voice through the Global Shippers Forum is a step in the right direction. IATA looks forward to working with FIATA, GSF and TIACA to make it an effective industry tool.

“But we cannot be successful without an effective regulatory environment. We have been proactive in representing the airline industry and we would have a great deal to offer to a wider group representing the interests of the entire air cargo supply chain and customers. We believe FIATA and TIACA would be strong partners to work alongside, as well as the GSF. We are keen to approach our discussions positively. Clearly, regulators will see us as having a more powerful voice as a group than as individual associations when it comes to industry affairs and we hope they will be even more willing to listen to us and to work with us.”

His views were echoed by Jean-Claude Delen, President of FIATA who said:

“FIATA is recognized globally as representing the freight forwarding industry and this is a role I believe we perform successfully. We are constantly looking at how we can bring even greater value to FIATA’s membership and we therefore see strong potential in being part of any group that is intent on protecting the vital services forwarders perform. We clearly have a lot of areas to consider but we believe it is time for associations like FIATA, TIACA and IATA and hopefully others, to look at how we can collectively approach the issue of regulatory and industry affairs as this is an area where we need the strongest representation. We need to be able to influence decisions that are outside of our direct control but that can have the most dramatic impact on the effectiveness of the members of all our associations.”

Speaking on behalf of the Global Shippers’ Forum Peter J. Gatti said:

“The importance and potential impact that this group can have should not be underestimated. Suppliers, vendors and their customers working together can be a powerful force in identifying supply chain needs and how they can best be achieved. This new working group presents an extraordinary opportunity to be heard by national policy makers.”