Hundreds of delegates will flock to the Shangri-la Hotel in Shanghai, to attend IATA’s 9th World Cargo Symposium, to be held from 10-12 March. “Improving the customer experience” is the
leading motto of the event that’s sponsored by China Eastern.
How can this improvement be achieved? For example, by driving innovations forward, with much more vigour and greater efficiency than has been done in the past. Or by reducing interfaces together
with the complexity of processes, making air freight faster and hence more attractive for shippers that ultimately pay for getting their goods from where they are produced to the consignee’s
No globalization without air transport
Not to forget: Air Cargo is an indispensable facilitator of economic development, transporting goods worth in excess of U.S.$6.8 trillion on an annual basis. This is roughly 35 percent of world trade by value. The sector itself generates nearly U.S.$70 billion every year and is an important component of the aviation industry which collectively supports 57 million jobs worldwide.
Despite its importance, during the last 4 to 5 years the cargo industry had quite a tough time. Much of the volume migrated from air to sea, many European economies stagnated or even contracted, Brazil’s and Argentina’s growth rates are running on the spot, China’s exports decreased, yields kept on going south, political and military crisis together with religious clashes and terror in some of the world’s regions shook up markets and had detrimental effects on the business.
In a nutshell, uncertainty about the future development prevails.
WCS could act as driving force
But will things take a turn for the better? In view of the many rather negative or at least challenging global conditions only naïve contemporaries might expect or even assume that IATA’s WCS will deliver solutions to dissolve or overcome alike external problems.
Some will surely be disappointed when flying back home.
However, what WCS can accomplish is encouraging the participants to do their utmost in daily work to improve the supply chain of the cargo industry by – as IATA Cargo’s helmsman Glyn Hughes puts it in a video – “centering our entire focus on what the clients need from the air cargo industry,” be it customized services, innovative approaches and solutions or dedicated efforts. What they definitely wouldn’t appreciate getting as echo from their agents, airlines or handlers is hearing that they simply carry on the biz as usual.
Having said this, the WCS event could be a wakeup call to the cargo industry to leave well trodden paths and focus all efforts on optimizing the flow of goods and modernizing processes.
At Shanghai, a number of tracks are offered to the attendees with precisely this aim. For instance the ‘real time interaction’ initiative, aiming at providing customers with easy, real time, accurate, safe and trusted information from all operators whenever needed. Two other tracks will be run in Chinese language, focusing on the market dynamics and some of the problems and challenges actors are facing in the Chinese operational markets.
The presentation of enticing innovative solutions to simplify and enhance the supply chain should turn out to be another highly attractive feature offered at IATA’s WCS. “Promoting and fostering innovation within the air cargo supply chain is something we as IATA have put very high on Shanghai’s agenda,” states Glyn. In line with this goal is a new feature – the innovation awards – to be introduced at the WCS. This will be realized by means of a special program which attracts people to submit ideas that could pave the way for new or improved products to be launched.
And there are prizes to be won as well.
High prize purse
“We have a panel of independent judges that will shortlist 3 candidates that will then join the symposium and present their ideas to the entire audience,” announces IATA’s Head of Cargo Hughes. He goes on to say: “That’s where it really gets exciting because the audience will vote for the winning recipient.” The lucky champion will receive a cash award of U.S.$20,000 !! Should be worth it to present a smart and convincing idea to the WCS audience in Shanghai.