From positive growth, to advocacy for 1,001 air cargo-related topics around the world, to reviews of the past year, developments in one of the association’s key topics, Sustainability, and outlooks for 2023, the online press event on 07MAR23, was so densely packed with information, it would have triggered a Dark Alarm, had it undergone an x-ray check.
But that’s certainly not a bad thing, even if I did need a little lie-down after the 70-minute TIACA Press Extravaganza to digest and sort the information in my head. At the end of the day, you have to doff your hat to TIACA for forging ahead with their strategy and delivering on their transformation promises. Maybe I was feeling a little buttered up by Director General, Glyn Hughes’ comment that “the quality of this industry’s media eclipses that of many other industries,” but it was really the realization that there is so much of relevance going on behind the scenes.
First full year after transformation
TIACA Chairman, Steven Polmans delivered an update on the organization’s development in its “first full year after transformation”: the Board has intentionally grown large to cover all regions and industry types in the world, and aims to be as inclusive and diverse as possible also regarding age and gender. “There’s still a long way to go, but we’re making good progress,” was his verdict. Membership is also growing. Last year marked the second consecutive growth year, with a plus of 16%. “We have very diverse membership: the largest group is Freight Forwarders with many of them in the SME category. TIACA is very strong in NA and EU, but also present and growing in other regions: That is why we started with regional events,” he explained. More members leads to positive financial results, too. A sign that “the industry supports TIACA!” Polmans concluded, underlining the association’s “financial prudency. We want sustainable profitability.” The Director General should run the organization like a CEO, with full accountability. Changes had been made regarding treasury: the Treasurer is now a Board Member with the result that 2022 had a positive and better than foreseen budget, and the first profit in a very long time. “Growth and strong investment are expected in 2023, and we aim to end with a small surplus in a first, positive, non-ACF year,” he announced, continuing the vision of a more stable, stronger TIACA for the future.
Flying the flag for air cargo
“The world must be aware of value of air cargo during NORMAL times, too!” Glyn Hughes declared, and took the audience through an update of the air cargo industry’s six main priorities: Digitalization (“crucial for success!”), Sustainability (TIACA is a driver here with its BlueSky initiative, which is gaining ground, and its Sustainability survey), Partnership & Collaboration (“TIACA will do whatever they can to nurture and support businesses,” and “We must work together with ICAO and other organizations to support cargo development” particularly for when cargo demand and the need for freighters will pick up again towards the end of the year and beyond), Safety & Security, Liberalization, and the Value of Air Cargo.
Value of air cargo
That value of air cargo starts with information and training initiatives. Glyn touched on successful programs such as the UK’s Outreach Logistics taking the industry into schools and educational bodies. “TIACA urges all states to look at establishing logistics-based programs through secondary school curriculum to help address the need for future workforce development,” was the key message, also pushing for “adequate access to training, consistent with today’s needs.” In line with encouraging young people into the industry, he repeated TIACA’s promise that members’ colleagues under 30 can attend TIACA events for free.
TIACA advocates the value of air cargo across a multitude of very diverse topics and is forging closer partnerships with associated groups and committees. ICAO is one such partner that TIACA is collaborating closely with, for example. “We are making a difference,” he said, illustrating advocacy points such as the recent earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, where insurance markets are still charging extortionate premiums even on relief goods being flown there. TIACA demands they reconsider their policies in the face of disasters. The Mexico City freighter ban due to come into effect in JUL23, is creating major issues, and TIACA is voicing these. Also, the fuel taxation and fees in many LATAM countries are so high that they are killing passenger business, which in turn removes much needed cargo capacity from the market. Counterfeit Lithium Batteries, Carbon Emissions, SAF, CO2 calculation methods, were other example topics touched where TIACA is advocating for education, training, standards, incentives, and collaboration among related bodies and decision-makers.
A brief outlook
The first Asian and African Regional Events are coming up: Delhi in India in MAR23, and Nairobi/Kenya in JUN23, with an Executive Summit in Brussels/Belgium to round off the year’s in-person conferences. The feedback from last year’s Air Cargo Forum Miami was almost 100% positive – both from the exhibitor as well as the attendee points of view, and therefore the dates have already been set for next year: 12-14NOV24 at the same venue. In a further effort to spread innovation and ideas through the community, TIACA is launching Mission Innovation this year: a quarterly newsletter that spotlights Sustainability Award submissions entered in previous voting rounds. “Through communication can come inspiration,” is Hughes’ philosophy.
CargoForwarder Global agrees.
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