FIATA brings together almost 130 participants for 2023 Statutory GM - motions passed and APACIT welcomed!

FIATA e-flash
5 July 2023

FIATA unites almost 130 participants for the 2023 Statutory General Meeting

On Friday 30 June, FIATA brought together almost 130 online participants at the annual FIATA Statutory General Meeting (GM), where reports from the Presidency on 2022 activities and financial matters were approved, including the adoption of the budget for 2024 and a motion to reflect the adaptation of the working language of the FIATA Statutes to ensure consistency.

FIATA would like to congratulate Asociacion Peruana De Agentes De Carga Internacional -APACIT- on becoming the 110th FIATA Association member to join the Federation. APACIT has 91 member companies and its objective is to develop maritime and air cargo transport alongside related activities and defend the interests of its associates. FIATA would additionally like to congratulate APACIT on its 50th Anniversary!

FIATA welcomes US-FMC proposed rule-making to protect against unreasonable refusal to deal

The US-Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has issued a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM) containing its proposals on the implementation of the prohibition on common carriers unreasonably refusing available cargo space to shippers. The SNPRM has been issued following a consultation period, to which FIATA participated, and is a continuation of the FMC rulemaking process mandated by the US Ocean Shipping Reform Act 2022. FIATA applauds the FMC’s consideration of the perspectives of stakeholders from across the supply chain, including freight forwarders, shippers and vessel-operating common carriers (VOCCs), which will be valuable to facilitating targeted clarifications that are beneficial to the supply chain as a whole. 

FIATA welcomes the clarifications proposed by the FMC, which are in line with and respond to FIATA’s proposals, including: 

  • New definition of “unreasonable conduct”: New definition clarifies “unreasonable conduct” as conduct “that unduly restricts the ability of shippers to access ocean carriage services”.
  • Clarifications on vessel space accommodation issues: Such issues can now be taken up before the FMC for unreasonable refusal by carriers both during negotiations as well as once service contracts are in place. Non-vessel operating common carriers (NVOCCs) have been excluded from this as they do not have any control over space accommodations. 
  • Facilitating negotiations between stakeholders: Clarification of vessel and cargo space accommodations which include services necessary to access or book vessel space accommodations. This will ensure that shippers and forwarders cannot be unreasonably limited from using the platforms they use to secure vessel space.   
  • Increased transparency and monitoring: FMC to monitor the effect of blank sailings or other schedule disruptions on the ability to accept shipments, as well as the alternative remedies or assistance provided to a shipper to whom it refused vessel space accommodations via a documented export policy carriers must file with the regulator.  

FIATA thanks its Working Group Sea delegates for their contributions in the elaboration of FIATA’s submission to the FMC. Similar submissions were also filed with the EU and Australian regulators last year, and FIATA continues to monitor the global situation carefully. The FMC has now opened its period for public comment on the SNPRM until 31 July 2023. In addition, the FMC has an ongoing supplementary consultation on unreasonable refusal to deal and is working on a draft proposed rule addressing “Unfair or Unjustly Discriminatory Methods”.

FIATA holds Global Air Cargo Programme workshop at the Federation of Asia-Pacific Air Cargo Associations (FAPAA)

On 9 June 2023, FIATA held a workshop on its work towards “Establishing a Global Air Cargo Programme for all regions” at the 49th Executive Council Meeting of the Federation of Asia-Pacific Air Cargo Associations (FAPAA), hosted by the Indonesian Logistics and Freight Forwarders Association (ILFA) in Bali. The workshop provided the opportunity to update and inform FAPAA delegates on FIATA’s work to support the airfreight industry, particularly in relation to FIATA’s ongoing work to defend and protect the global freight forwarding industry in respect of the current IATA Cargo Agency Programme framework, as seen at the 84th session of the IATA-FIATA Consultative Council (IFCC) which saw a number of important outcomes to protect freight forwarders, in line with FIATA’s position.

Crucially, the workshop allowed FIATA to have in-depth consultations with FAPAA delegates on their needs in respect of FIATA’s work towards a Global Air Cargo Programme. The importance of this work was underlined, noting the outdated IATA Cargo Agency Programme rules premised on the concept of freight forwarders as airlines’ agents rather than equal commercial parties, and the lack of any evolved rules in regions Asia-Pacific and Africa-Middle East.

FIATA highlighted the objective of this work to be global and take a harmonised approach, which is ever more pressing for airlines and forwarders to facilitate effective operations in the evolving market, and welcomed the recent support expressed by key stakeholders, including airlines. Extensive discussion took place on tangible solutions, and FAPAA delegates noted the importance of ensuring fairness and joint governance in the Global Programme, stressing the need to foster a level-playing field for companies of all sizes and streamline the multiple overlapping rules currently applicable across the region.

FIATA thanks the FAPAA delegates for the open and constructive dialogue, and will further consider their feedback in FIATA’s ongoing work towards the Global Programme. 

An eventful week at the WCO: Many meetings, private sector dialogue with customs authorities and new WCO Secretary General elected

Earlier this month, FIATA's Andrea Tang, International Trade Lawyer, represented FIATA at the World Customs Organization (WCO), in a week which started with the WCO Private Sector Consultative Group (WCO-PSCG) meetings held on 19-21 June 2023. The meetings provided the opportunity to exchange views regarding key customs and trade facilitation topics, as well as to finalise the WCO-PSCG's presentations on its two ongoing projects on trade facilitation and business continuity, led by FIATA and the International Chamber of Commerce respectively.

On 21 June, WCO-PSCG members and the WCO Policy Commission (the steering group for the WCO Council, the supreme body of the WCO) had the opportunity to exchange. FIATA presented the WCO-PSCG project on what trade facilitation means to the private sector, emphasising the five recommendations on transparency, performance, partnership and consistency, together with relevant case studies. Continuous improvement was cited as key, and FIATA highlighted the importance of ensuring process alignment in trade facilitation measures, such as the adaptation of processes to facilitate electronic exchange of information, as well as ensuring appropriate information exchange and partnerships with the private sector.

The week ended with the WCO Council, during which the new WCO Secretary General, Mr Ian Saunders (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) was elected for a five-year term as of 1 January 2024. FIATA welcomes Mr Saunders’ appointment and looks forward to continuing its longstanding collaboration with the WCO to reach the shared vision, as cited by Mr Saunders as “a safe, prosperous and inclusive future”. Further information on Mr Saunders can be found on the WCO website: World Customs Organization (

FIATA leading in the digitalisation of trade documents

Since the launch of its Digital Strategy in 2020, FIATA has successfully renewed its leadership in transport documents. The FIATA Bill of Lading is the only recognised multimodal document and UCP 600. In 2020, it became urgent for FIATA to bring a digital version of this renowned document to ensure that freight forwarders can continue to play their central role in a digital supply chain. The challenge was taken on and successfully addressed by the newly appointed FIATA Director General with the development of an eFBL standard and a service to ensure the authentication and security of the documents thanks to blockchain.

It is with great satisfaction to see that three years later, FIATA is leading the debate on a digital supply chain and ensuring that freight forwarders and FIATA members keep their relevancy, as it was demonstrated during the 2023 ICC World Chambers Congress in Geneva, where FIATA shared its experience with the 1,500 participants from all around the world.   

Since the launch, FIATA has distributed over 600 eFBLs, onboarded 26 FIATA Associations Members and 23 software providers

Join the digital freight forwarder journey today!

FIATA joins participants in International Chambers of Commerce World Chambers Congress in transition to digital trade

From 21-23 June, FIATA joined the 13th World Chambers Congress, which showcased Geneva as a hub facilitating the exchange of goods, ideas and trade, with key messages being that digitalisation will make a way for more seamless trade, and that international trade facilitates peace. Digitalisation and sustainability were key buzzwords presenting both challenges and opportunities for SMEs to integrate bottom-up into global trade and value chains.

FIATA featured on a panel titled ‘Digital Trade: What’s in it for you?’, during which Director General Stéphane Graber joined panelists Pamela Mar, Managing Director of the ICC DSI, Stephan Wolf, CEO of the Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation, and Gabriella Dorlhiac, Executive Director of ICC Brasil.

Key messages to come from the panel were that a clear case must be stated amongst companies that digital solutions will bring down costs, increase transparency and speed-up laboursome documentation processes, and that trust will no longer be at risk, with the ability of each company to verify documents thanks to their own organisational digital identity. Interoperability also remains a hurdle, and the global logistics supply chain is highly diverse. Collaboration is slated to help in overcoming this hurdle.

In the closing of the event, FIATA also hosted a networking cocktail on its booth in order to allow the opportunity to meet with its Chamber of Commerce members, and meet new and old faces for exchange.