29 October 2021
In the run-up to the FIATA 2021 General Assembly, FIATA institute and body debriefings began this week, providing an opportunity for the respective chairs to provide an overview of the current challenges being addressed by the institutes, to take stock of the progress and achievements of the past year, and to encourage an exchange with all FIATA members wishing to contribute.
Multimodal Transport Institute (MTI)
The series was opened by the Multimodal Transport Institute (MTI) on 25 October 2021, led by MTI Chair Robert Keen in collaboration with the Chairs of the MTI working groups. Core to the MTI’s work over the past year has been addressing the disruptions faced by the global supply chain and aiding in business recovery efforts from the pandemic.
As the impacts of pandemic and the disruptions in the supply chain will continue to persevere, it was clear that the MTI, under its multimodal approach, will be best placed to identify and address the bottlenecks, and consider how FIATA can work to shape the supply chain to be more resilient for the future through the crucial role of freight forwarders as the Architects of Transport. FIATA expresses its gratitude to MTI Chair, Robert Keen, for his outstanding contribution to the key work carried out by the FIATA Multimodal Transport Institute.
"The main issue today is to protect the interest of our industry" - Jens Roemer, Chair of WG Sea
Working Group Sea Transport (WG Sea), led by its Chair Jens Roemer, has been on the front lines to protect the interests of the freight forwarding industry amid evolving business models, and to advocate for a level-playing field. This has included publication of resources and guidance for FIATA members, strengthening dialogue with stakeholders across the industry, and developing new strategies to address bottlenecks and challenges in the supply chain which can be used by FIATA members to advocate for the freight transport industry in their national economies.
"Competition is healthy, but it needs to follow a level playing field" - Jens Roemer, Chair of WG Sea
It was also an occasion to announce of the recent invitation to FIATA to join the Cargo Integrity Group (CIG) following 3 years of efforts, and to underline the need to adapt and ensure a fair commercial environment in the context of carrier vertical integration and alliances. Given the current situation in the maritime sector, this will be one of FIATA's main priorities in the coming weeks and months, and FIATA is pleased to be able to count on the great expertise and work of Mr. Jens Roemer.
"The recent Market Place seminar succeeded in highlighting infrastructure developments in different parts of the world and the learning potential of sharing our experiences" - Ivan Petrov, Chair of WG Rail
Meanwhile, Working Group Rail (WG Rail) Chair Ivan Petrov recalled the key events that were organized or had the participation of WG Rail over the last year, in the context of ongoing international rail infrastructure projects and the importance of rail as part of a multimodal recovery approach. These events brought together experts across the rail sector, notably in the recent Marketplace Seminar, and demonstrated the renewed collaboration between FIATA and governmental and international organisations on topics such as digitalization, multimodality and rail corridors. The meeting also provided the opportunity to announce Ivan Petrov’s successor as WG Rail Chair, Ole Hagen, who has previously held the role of Vice Chair of the WG Rail. Mr Hagen seeks to increase collaboration between the three working groups at this unprecedented time for the freight industry to provide innovative solutions for freight forwarder in the economic recovery.
"The disruption to the supply chain will last for some time, as markets remain very volatile and the challenge is to calculate the risks and plan accordingly" - Tomas Suhanyi, Chair of WG Road
At Working Group Road (WG Road), the Chair Tomas Suhanyi welcomed the expansion of the working group to include new members representing a wider geographical remit, and noted the important discussions that took place within the working group on the pandemic, business recovery efforts, and sustainability. A particular topic of focus, which will continue to persevere, will be the issue of vaccination requirements and governmental restrictions, and how this will impact on the fluidity of the wider supply chain.
Sustainability in freight
"FIATA can lead the way in sustainable development by sharing best practice and providing useful tools to its members" - Robert Keen, Chair of MTI
Last but not least, the MTI Chair provided an update on Working Group Sustainable Logistics (WG SL) due to the recent departure of its Chair, Cavit Ugur, who has left UTIKAD for new pastures. In his update, the MTI Chair noted the ongoing focus of WG SL on an emissions calculator repository and resource for the FIATA membership, and the collaboration of industry expert Andrea Schoen (DB Schenker) to discuss freight forwarding perspectives on standardization processes. It was noted that discussions are currently ongoing regarding the future development of WG SL, which needs to be more closely integrated into all different aspects discussed under the MTI umbrella.
Customs Affairs Institute (CAI)
"FIATA has not only participated in several international meetings, but has been a key contributor, adding value and making a clear difference for its members" - Steve Parker, Chair of CAI
The meeting of the Customs Affairs Institute (CAI) took place on 26 October 2021, providing the opportunity to reflect on the considerable efforts of CAI, led by its Chair Steve Parker, to contribute to policymaking discussions at the international level in support of trade facilitation and business recovery developments. Of particular note were the substantial contributions to the work of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) on e-commerce and authorized economic operators (AEO), as well as to the WCO Private Sector Consultative Group (PSCG) of which FIATA is a member. The cross-disciplinary collaboration of CAI was welcomed, noting that customs topics are central to a number of issues addressed by FIATA, as demonstrated on topics such as illicit trade and advance cargo information.
"The year 2021 has been a challenging transition period for the newly created FLI, with a new team operating successfully in an unprecedented context, which has perfectly illustrated freight forwarders' ability to adapt to new environments." - Stephen Mc Dermott, Chair of FLI
On Wednesday 27 October 2021, FLI delegates gathered for the pre–General Meeting session, led by the FLI Chair, Stephen McDermott. FLI delegates can be proud of this year's success.
Successfully adapting to the impacts brought by the COVID-19 pandemic was an important part of FLI activities. In the context of validation and re-validation sessions being heavily affected by the pandemic, FLI successfully implemented a new online validation process that allows for easier processing and engagement of FIATA delegates in the completion of their tasks. This ensured that training standards were maintained, despite the unprecedented time and the impossibility of face-to-face meetings. In addition, FLI made good progress on the elaboration of a digital training guidance, with the aim of providing instructions on all aspects to consider when setting up an online training programme.
The work around the Young International Freight Forwarders of the Year Award (YIFFYA) was also emphasized, as promoting young talents continues to be a key FIATA priority. In close collaboration with TT Club, efforts have been put in place to offer the contestants and FIATA members an unforgettable experience. The name of the global winner will be announced on 17 November 2021 during the YIFFYA online Final Event.
"If freight forwarders wants to stay relevant, FIATA needs to support its members in adopting digital processes and services by adapting the content and form of its vocational training"- Thomas Sim, FIATA Senior Vice-President and Presidency Rapporteur to FLI
Air Freight Institute (AFI)
"It was a difficult time for AFI in 2021 with the adoption of V/8 and V/9. FIATA is working at reversing this decision, in particular at the next IFCC meeting" - Keshav Tanna, Chair of AFI
The week of Institute reporting meetings drew to a close on 28 October, with AFI, led by its Chair Keshav Tanna. In his report, the AFI Chair noted the focus on strategies moving out of the pandemic, with the engagement of various industry stakeholders, and understanding how FIATA could address the challenges faced by FIATA members in today's air cargo supply chain, notably culminating in the creation of dedicated taskforces. In addition, the adoption of V/8 and V/9 remains a significant concern as it hinders this ability for freight forwarders to have a meaningful voice in the Regional Joint Councils.
Positive progress was noted by the FIATA Director General as to the work undertaken by the AFI Chair in collaboration with the FIATA Headquarters to strengthen the IATA-FIATA Dangerous Goods by Air Training programme, which has promising results in store for 2022. The Director General also provided a high-level summary of the 2021 World Cargo Symposium organised in Dublin in October, which highlighted the importance of sustainability as a centrepiece of the air cargo industry strategy, in addition to digitalisation and safety and security. Freight forwarders of all sizes are essential to the success of these developments, and there is a clear momentum for the air cargo activities to make their voice heard, to address inefficiencies in the supply chain, and to advocate for better regulation.
Don't miss the coming reporting sessions of FIATA Institutes and Advisory Bodies:
UPCOMING REPORTING MEETINGS
FIATA Advisory Bodies