The Belgian Airfreight Institute (BAFI), the professional organisation of the airfreight forwarders, wants to focus on technology to improve operational efficiency. The organisation has redefined its role within the ACB framework.
“If there is one thing that was made clear in 2016, it was fragility”, said President Alain De Heldt (3rd left) during the annual meeting of the organisation. “Security awareness has increased
considerably. It is something with which we have learned to live.”
The fact that security has permeated all levels of the air cargo process was made clear during a round table of BAFI’s Security Committee last November. One of the issues discussed was the lack of uniformity in the acceptance procedures of the cargo handlers.
Alain reminded the BAFI members of the fact that the freight forwarders are the largest employer at the airport. “Cargo goes where the forwarders are,” he said. “Improving the operational efficiency and customs relations are among the largest challenges we are facing.”
Life after ACB
The main item on last year’s agenda was, however, the foundation of the umbrella organisation Air Cargo Belgium (ACB). According to Vice-president David Bellon (4th left), this has triggered some confusion among the BAFI members, so that the organisation needed to redefine its position to a certain extent.
“BAFI’s role has not changed”, David explained. “Within our structure and our board we have redesigned our committees to allow alignment with the ACB structure. BAFI remains the voice of the air freight forwarding community, but in order to do so in the best possible way, we need more feedback from our members. BAFI is complementary to ACB. BAFI members are automatically ACB members as well. We have secured two seats in each of the ACB working groups. In the ACB committees too, we are the channel to disseminate the interests of the freight forwarders.”
This year BAFI’s focus will be on technology and pure operational processes, involving customs as well as handlers, said David. “E-Freight is but the first step. We have to dispose of the manual labour that still dominates our industry. Operational improvement and technology are closely linked.”
Marcel Schoeters in Brussels