Premiering at Munich-held Air Cargo Europe was the ‘Air Cargo France Association’ (ACFA), set up in 2017. Its aim is to promote the French airports, which are exposed to intense international competition, says its spokesman Valentin Bouchet.
ACFA is the successor to the inter-professional Comité Interprofessionel du Frêt, which brought together the air cargo stakeholders at Paris CDG. To date its members are Groupe ADP, Air France Cargo, Sycaff, WFS, France Cargo Handling, TLF Overseas, SODEXI, CIN France, la Direction Interrégionale des Douanes de Roissy, d’Orly et Le Bourget, the Direction Générale de l’Aviation Civile and the Préfecture déléguée de Roissy-Orly-Le Bourget.
CFG : There are many industry association, with ACFA joining the lineup. What’s the need for this club?
VB: By setting up ACFA we wanted to respond to the common needs of air carriers and freight forwarders, which we put around the table. Basically, we are a lobby group, representing and promoting the French airports. As such we would like to expand our reach by discussing and coordinating our aims with other French airports.
From our point of view joining ACFA is beneficial for members because we are in constant dialogue with public authorities such as customs, civil aviation, the prefecture of the region and others. In that respect, we want to become the privileged interlocutor with the authorities by tabling concerns of the industry and trying to solve them through discussions or by setting up working groups.
CFG: Understood, but which specific targets does your association have? Please illustrate.
For 2019 we want to focus on digitisation, the development of specific markets like pharma and fresh and, most importantly, the promotion of air cargo related careers. We find that there still are a lot of people around the airports who do not take advantage of the economic activity of these airports, because they lack the necessary professional skills.
CFG: Is ACFA looking into the IATA CEIV Pharma certification?
What we are working on is to implement the new CEIV Fresh initiative. The Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK), Cathay Pacific, Cathay Pacific Services Limited (CPSL) and Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (HACTL) were the first organisations to pilot the CEIV Fresh programme taking a community approach to certification. We would like Paris CDG to be the first airport in Europe to follow suit.
CFG: Has ACFA reached out to FedEx, a major player in Paris?
We have both private companies and public bodies as members. We would like to expand to include new members, especially in the express business as they are very important due to their activities. We are also talking to DHL and La Poste in this respect.They are still evaluating if joining ACFA can offer them some added value.
From our perspective the added value for companies joining our association, such as DHL, FedEx and other integrators, is to express their concerns about CDG developments and collaboratively engage in projects, working groups etc to best solve them.
CFG: The shippers’ organisation AUTF has not yet joined?
AUTF too is in discussion with us and we certainly think we can bring added value to them, even if we are a complementary organization. On the other hand, the road haulage organisation TLF has become a member with others hopefully following suit. The more powerful we are will help in achieving our aim to become the spokes-body for the entire French air cargo industry.