2021 FIATA Week drives the change for freight forwarding associations

Press Release
25 March 2021

Geneva, 25 March 2021 – The 2021 FIATA Week took place online from 22-25 March and had more than 300 participants join the 4 days of meetings. Despite being held online due to the pandemic, the event had high numbers of participation, with 31 sessions taking place and more than 1,000 virtual connections made to the overall meetings.

The FIATA Week, formerly called the HQ Meeting, is a key annual event for Association Members to gather and discuss strategic objectives. This year, the meeting format underwent a transformation to create added value for members. Under the theme ‘Driving the Change’, the FIATA Week provided a platform for FIATA bodies to discuss their annual work plan, offered capacity-building sessions for members, introduced high-level dialogues with top-quality speakers, and provided an opportunity for FIATA members to meet the HQ team in Geneva.

“We have taken a different approach in terms of the content of this event and have re-thought the value of holding such a meeting by developing a thought-provoking programme,” said FIATA President, Basil Pietersen. “Careful attention has been given to each and every one of the sessions to continue building on the work accomplished by our reset programme and address our organizational priorities. We want our members to fully dive into topics presented by opening themselves to new perspectives, and engage with their respective FIATA bodies to propose solutions that will be of value to the global freight forwarding community.”

Key takeaways from the FIATA bodies

Association Members were able to network and exchange views on pressing industry matters and work on plans and strategies that will contribute towards FIATA’s multifaceted mission to unite, represent, promote and protect the interests of our industry worldwide.

Some of the key issues discussed included developing tools and resources to assist FIATA members through the current challenges and disruptions within the supply chain and across multimodal transport, continuing international collaboration with partner organizations to promote the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, facing the challenges of online training, onboarding a new generation of freight forwarders, and more.

Encouraging capacity building

Some of the sessions also included brief trainings to strengthen members’ practical knowledge and skills in three focus areas. Insurance broker Avalon presented the FIATA Group Bond Programme, which provides and efficient and economical way for ocean transportation providers throughout the world who issue their own house bill of lading to comply with US government regulations when arranging shipments to and from the US.

FIATA, in collaboration with PayCargo, explained the soon-to-be launched online payment platform called Freight-Pay, which is a tailored solution for members to instantly make and receive payments and manage transactions all through a single platform. Association Members were also offered a chance to develop their social media skills and leverage opportunities in their national associations.

Taking part in high-level dialogues

The FIATA Week had a number of sessions that were open to all FIATA members, from both national associations as well individual companies. The high-level dialogues were a highlight of the event and addressed key industry issues, such as digitalization in the supply chain, the FMC rule on detention and demurrage, and safety and security threats to the vaccine distribution.

The High-Level Dialogue on Digitalization in the Supply Chain included speakers from CHAMP, IATA and freight forwarding who underlined the necessity for freight forwarders to evolve and adapt to new business models, gain in efficiency, and improve processes and user experience through digitalization.

The High-Level Dialogue on the FMC had Commissioner Rebecca Dye, who played a leading role in the US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) rule on unfair demurrage and detention practices, explained some of the key factors in the disrupted maritime supply chain today and how to leverage the FMC findings in national contexts.

The High-Level Dialogue on Safety and Security Threats to COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Supply welcomed speakers from DHL, IATA and Campus BioTech who discussed the central role of freight forwarders in providing secure supply chain logistics solutions in the rollout phase of the COVID-19 vaccines, and talked about the challenges faced by the vaccination supply chains when they are specifically targeted by rogue actors.

Finally, the High-Level Dialogue called Views from the Top provided an opportunity for Association Members to direct specific questions to the FIATA Presidency, which addressed the work carried out by FIATA’s reset programme, the need to promote youth and the next generation of freight forwarders, the focus of sustainability in logistics, FIATA’s digital strategy and the digitalization of its bill of lading, the future of training and education activities, and more.

“As highlighted by the Presidency during the Views from the Top dialogue, FIATA has come a long way since one year ago at the beginning of the pandemic, but there is still much more to be done to ensure the effectiveness of the organization – and its renewal – for the future benefit of our industry and our membership,” said FIATA Director General, Dr Stéphane Graber.

Media Contact

Claudia Marquina | Communications Officer

+41 22 715 4513 | [email protected] 


FIATA International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations is a nongovernmental, membership-based organization representing freight forwarders in some 150 countries. FIATA’s membership is composed of 109 Associations Members and more than 5,500 Individual Members, overall representing an industry of 40,000 freight forwarding and logistics firms worldwide. Based in Geneva, FIATA is ‘the global voice of freight logistics’ www.fiata.com.