2024 FIATA RAME Field Meeting Special

FIATA e-flash
15 March 2024

E-FLASH Special: 2024 FIATA RAME Field Meeting Coverage! 

Last week, from 5-6 March, the FIATA RAME Field Meeting brought together 633 registered participants in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, under the title 'Connectivity, Resilience and Sustainability in Global Supply Chains'. Key highlights included discussions on global trade in the wake of the shocks of recent years, and particularly how the region has responded and continues to respond, sustainability and its importance in creating growth and development in the industry, and importantly, ways to build resilience in the face of challenges. Read on for more!

FIATA RAME Field Meeting focuses on building resilience, reinvigorating multimodal transport, and pursuing open dialogue

Nadia Abdul Aziz, President of NAFL, welcomed the 633 registered participants to the 2024 FIATA RAME Field Meeting, stressing that FIATA RAME events are not something to be attended and forgotten, but are about collaboration, achievement and measuring results. Held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, a gateway to the world, she pointed out that there were encouraging signs that businesses had recovered from the pandemic. She also noted that with the current Red Sea crisis, multimodal transport, one of FIATA's core competencies, has been reinvigorated, ideally placing freight forwarders at the centre of the quest for supply chain resilience in the region.

The FIATA President highlighted the role played by the FIATA RAME Field Meeting and other FIATA events throughout the year in building an ongoing dialogue between freight forwarders. In recent years, the world has faced several shocks that have had a negative impact on the supply chain, which is becoming the new normal. One of the consequences is the transformation of the globalisation model, with production sites increasingly dispersed around the world. Trade is becoming normative and geopolitical, with both near- and ally-shoring transforming the movement of goods.

More than ever, FIATA provides a platform for the freight forwarding community to find collective solutions at the regional level to promote supply chain resilience. He noted that nothing today is just local, but that local events such as the Red Sea crisis affect the supply chain on a global scale. Peace, certainty and sustainability are key to creating development and growth. HE Humaid Bin Salem responded by reiterating the UAE's commitment to supporting the private sector with whatever is necessary to promote prosperity and development, and stressed that its most precious cargo is trust.

FIATA RAME Chair Juanita Maree concluded with FIATA RAME's responsibility to connect Africa, while presenting an ambitious plan to bring the different modes of transport together to complement each other to build a more resilient and sustainable supply chain. She called on all FIATA RAME members to take responsibility for the work ahead to bring the excellence seen in the UAE to all parts of the Africa region. She concluded with quotes from Mahatma Gandhi: "The future depends on what you do today", and Henry Ford: "If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself".

The meeting was complemented by a special airfreight meeting headed by the FIATA Airfreight Institute (AFI) Chair Mr Woubishet, which saw the participation of invited airlines. The meeting provided the occasion for a rich exchange on the challenges facing the industry (e.g. ICS2 Release II implementation, the rise of eCommerce, lithium battery risks, palletisation, etc.) and how to modernise the collaboration between airlines and freight forwarders to address operational industry concerns and strengthen their service offering for the benefit of the industry and economies around the world.

The FIATA RAME Field Meeting was also followed by a meeting of the FIATA Working Group Sea, under the leadership of the WG Chair Mr Roemer, with the participation of delegates from Kenya and Ghana. Market evolution was discussed, and how freight forwarders can bring value to their customers, in particular through acting as a principal in the end-to-end transport chain through the use of forwarders’ house bills of lading (HBL), or by filing information under pre-loading advanced cargo information (PLACI) regimes. 

FIATA would like to congratulate the NAFL team and its President, Nadia Adbul Aziz, as well as its Vice-President, Ahmad Abdulrazeq, for this exceptional meeting which has enabled the freight forwarding community to look to the future with ambition for the FIATA RAME region.

FIATA DG showcases key focus areas in FIATA RAME: eFBL, training, Global Air Cargo Programme and its valued membership 

During the Field Meeting, FIATA's Director General, Dr Stéphane Graber, shed a light on FIATA's Region Africa and Middle East progress on various FIATA initiatives, including the adoption of the FIATA Digital Bill of Lading (eFBL) by regional members, including Egypt and South Africa, who are amongst the territories which have contributed to the selling of more than 1,800 eFBLs worldwide. He reminded participants of the importance for FIATA Association members to unlock access to the Digital FBL for the benefit of all the freight forwarders in their territories. 

He highlighted the benefits of the eFBL which is available to all freight forwarders via their everyday tools. Protected against fraud, using blockchain, and being traceable, it allows the verification of the eFBL authenticity at any time by anyone. This offers the eFBL an additional layer of security to the parties involved in the shipment, while saving them time and money, and offering them access to the benefits of international convention. 

FIATA's ongoing work with key supply chain players to increase the eFBL interoperability across the supply chain was highlighted, including with Customs administrations, as well as the work with the Global Shippers Forum to promote data governance principles that protect the ownership of freight forwarders data. The key role played by FIATA's identity registery in the move towards a trusted network architecture puts freight forwarders at the forefront of industry innovation. More is to come with the launch of an insured eFBL in the near future.

On the training front, FIATA is pleased to have delivered almost 350 FIATA Diplomas in Freight Forwarding, and almost 30 FIATA Diplomas in Supply Chain Management, as well as almost 30 Train-the-Trainer courses in the region. Congratulations go to Ghana, Egypt, Morocco, Iran, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Ethiopia for their successful delivery of the training programmes. FIATA is also pleased to share that it now has three accredited training centres based in the RAME region delivering the ICAO-FIATA Dangerous Goods by Air Training Programmes: Tunisia, Kenya and Bahrain. With the training demand in the region being so immense, FIATA Association Members in other territories are invited to follow such examples.

In closing, Dr Graber shared about the pressing need for a Global Air Cargo Programme, for which FIATA is pushing in order to modernise the IATA Cargo Agency programme and recognise the current relationship between airlines and forwarders. The Programme would provide the opportunity for freight forwarders and airlines to effectively collaborate to address marketplace evolution in eCommerce, digitalisation, and safety and security, while ensuring a uniform approach in all regions around the world to facilitate the effective operation of global supply chain actors.

Last but not least, the FIATA Director General invited all territories in the region that are not yet member of FIATA to join the Federation, in which a vibrant community is leading the supply chain towards more resilience for sustainable trade growth.

FIATA's Immediate Past President reveals FIATA's sustainable roadmap

Dr Ivan Petrov, FIATA Immediate Past President, also presented a comprehensive overview of FIATA's sustainability work to help FIATA members to contribute to the UN's Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs). He highlighted the recent partnership with Pledge, the contribution of freight forwarders to the decarbonisation of the inland transport sector, and the engagement of FIATA Association members.

He also provided recommendations to the freight forwarding industry on how it could show resilience, and overcome the costs arising from regulations and climate targets as a community. FIATA plays a central role in building awareness, equipping members with primary tools and facilitating access to cost-effective carbon offset solutions. He concluded by inviting all members to take part in FIATA's work on sustainability through the Multimodal Transport Institute (MTI), and to use the FIATA Tools to reach their sustainability goals!

Election of new FIATA RAME Vice-Chair ends in a tie between two top candidates

Amidst the excitement of the highly successful Dubai-hosted 2024 FIATA RAME Field Meeting, candidates for the role of Vice-Chair of Region Africa and Middle East were presented to the participating delegates. The vote by the Region's delegates for who they deem to be the most suitable candidate resulted in a tie, and thus the decision on the election of a new FIATA RAME Vice-Chair will go first to the FIATA Presidency for nomination, followed by validation at the Extended Board Meeting on 26 April in the closing of the 2024 FIATA HQ Meeting, with confirmation at the 2024 Statutory General Meeting in June. The fact that this election resulted in a tie shows the high calibre of these two outstanding candidates. FIATA would like to take this opportunity to present both candidates to the FIATA membership, who demonstrated their strength and excellent competencies during the FIATA RAME Field Meeting:

Kaoutar Guessous is General Manager at TGS, a Moroccan freight forwarding company founded in 1991. She launched a sister company in 2010, Worldwide Logistic Services, to reinforce the presence of the group in the sector by offering logistics trucking and Customs clearance. She focuses on driving the change through training in both companies. Ms Guessous is the Vice President of FIATA Association member AFFM (Association des Freight Forwarders du Maroc) and AFFM Chairperson of the International Affairs commission.

Before joining the logistics field in 1998, Ms Guessous was an international banker in charge of the relationship with foreign banks. Her banking experience and thirst for learning led her to travel all over the world, attending seminars and training forums. She holds a Masters degree in International Trade and is a FIATA certified trainer.

Kaoutar Guessous was nominated by the Moroccan Agency of Logistics Development as the Professional of the Year in 2022.

His Excellency Eng. Ali Bin Abdulatif Al Mesned is a former honorable member of the Shura Council, State of Qatar. He is also a Board Member of the Qatar Chamber of Commerce & Industry; Vice Chair of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC-Qatar), and an Honorable Member of the Qatar Society of Engineers. His Excellency also serves as the President of the Qatar Association of Freight and Logistics, which has been a FIATA Association member since 2023, and a member of the Standing Committee for Organizing Heavy Transport- Ministry of Transportation & Communication.

His Excellency also serves on numerous other boards and bodies in Qatar, including the International Arbitration Committee of the Qatar Chamber of Commerce, and is Chair of the Al Baida Group. Eng. Al Mesned has a Civil Engineering degree from Portland University in the United States and an Executive MBA from HEC Paris. He is also a Grade A classified Civil Engineer. 

He shared with the participants his strong commitment to exert every possible effort to implement FIATA’s visions and strategies in the Region, assuring that he will actively contribute to the implementation of FIATA's initiatives, supporting its objectives, and executing tasks endorsed by the Federation for the best interest of its members.

Heading to Zanzibar for the 2025 FIATA RAME Field Meeting!

A huge congratulations are also in order for the Tanzanian Freight Forwarders Association (TAFFA), who were awarded the 2025 FIATA RAME Field Meeting! Under the motto: Unity, Integrity and Professionalism, TAFFA is very much looking forward to hosting and delivering an unforgettable meeting for the regional FIATA freight forwarding family! We are looking forward to it and hope to see you all there!