All members of the air cargo value chain need to work together to improve the efficiency, quality and security of air freight, according to Tony Tyler, director general of the International Air Transport Association.
Speaking at the World Congress of the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) in Singapore, Tyler pointed out air cargo growth in the past three years has been a shadow of the 12-percent global trade growth experienced during that time. A steady passenger-demand increase isn’t helping air cargo, either, he said, by shuttling excess cargo capacity to lanes already burdened with overcapacity.
“No business or business model survives over the long term without evolving. Air cargo is being buffeted by forces for change. These include changes in the economics of just-in-time manufacturing, longer delivery lead times, innovation by alternative modes of transport, and environmental pressures,” Tyler said in the speech. “In the face of these challenges, air cargo needs to work together as an industry to improve competitiveness and protect its value proposition.”
To improve quality, FIATA and IATA will push forward on a new chapter for Cargo2000, the industry initiative that works to develop cargo standards worldwide. IATA’s commitment to improving efficiency, Tyler said, is tied to e-freight and promoting the electronic air waybill, which has many proponents.
“But more airlines and forwarders need to sign up,” he said. “We cannot build a better, more competitive future for air cargo without individual contributions and leadership.”
Finally, he said security will be improved by collaboration between governments.
“Air cargo is facing some big challenges to its competitiveness,” Tyler said, in closing. “The only way to resolve them is by working together. The relationship between carriers and freight forwarders needs to be a much more equal partnership.”