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   Vol. 16 No. 8
Tuesday January 24, 2017

FIATA Pushes Future Of Air Cargo

IATA FIATA Deal Gets Down To Business

Lofty goals aside, the promise of cooperation is solidifying as the IATA FIATA Air Cargo program (IFACP) announced at the 90th FIATA Annual Conference in October last year in Dublin, Ireland, moves into reality.
     Although many people may step back a bit with a weathered eye and a wait and see attitude, don’t cast any doubt about moving this program forward into overdrive because Joana Nunes Coelho, Executive President of Associação dos Transitários de Portugal - APAT (Freight Forwarders Association of Portugal), doesn’t have time for it.
     Smart, beautiful, and totally dedicated, Joana is on the beam to take this revolutionary IATA/FIATA agreement, which reengineers the Cargo Agency Program, all the way into operation worldwide.
     However, she has no illusions:
     “As IFACP Governance Manager, my top priority is to ensure the success of the implementation of the IFACP that will begin in early 2017 with Canada as the pilot country,” Joana told FlyingTypers in an exclusive interview.

Portugal Powerhouse Sees IFACP Challenges

     “I have served as Executive President of APAT, the Portuguese FIATA member, for 21 months.
     “In the beginning of 2016 I submitted to my board a project plan for the current year.
     “The document was approved and from the 10 projects that I planned to develop, only 2 are still in progress—one for financial reasons and the other because we have determined, for strategic reasons, that it should not go forward.
     “Now I shall have to measure my strength with FIATA’s portfolio and that is another ball game.      Without getting out of the airfreight field and knowing that there is at least three or four times as much to do in other areas, we have to implement the new IFACP and that is a novel agreement that needs to implemented all over the world, country by country, replacing habits and mores that lasted for decades.
     “IFACP is not exactly a piece of cake, and then there is the e-AWB challenge, and also the transition period, where many decisions still have to be taken, cooperating with airlines that are also looking at a new chapter and may have precisely the same uncertainties that we have,” she said.
     “But what is happening is human, it is inevitable, and from any point of view this cooperation is all good.”

Biggest Surprise of 2016?

     Casting the net a bit wider, Joana shares some shock and awe events of 2016.
     “The two major events that surprised me in 2016 were the implementation phase of the SOLAS amendment regarding the VGM and the HANJIN bankruptcy.
     “So much was said and written about the SOLAS amendment, so much was supposed to have changed regarding the gross mass verified and declared by the shippers to the shipping line, so much has been done by some national governments in order to adjust their legislation to the SOLAS requirements, only to discover that shipping lines accept the VGM with their internal procedures, period.
     “Maybe ‘much ado about nothing,’ as the Bard wrote, is not completely right, but we are not far.”

HANJIN Shocker Still Reverberates

     “The other event that surprised me was the HANJIN bankruptcy, with the enormous losses it will bring to freight forwarders, and more losses yet to come.
     “Notwithstanding what the law may say, in a global world like the one we have today, it is difficult to stomach that a shipper has to pay twice the value of the freight to get cargo to a safe port, or worse.
     “Sadly, we are still facing insufficient protection in this area.”

Changing FIATA Cargo Program 2017

     First, a bit of background.
     “Freight forwarding companies operated within the IATA Cargo Agents’ rules for several decades; their services gradually evolved in time from being ‘selling-agents’ for the airlines’ services to becoming their purchasing customers.
     “IATA and FIATA have joined forces to review, refine, and reengineer this Agency Program to reflect these changes, and the IATA FIATA Air Cargo Program was adopted.
     “The brand new program moves decision-making on the rules governing the airline-forwarder relationship to a governance body jointly managed by forwarders and airlines, which reflects today’s market conditions.
     “The current IATA Cargo Agency/Intermediary Programs will be replaced by the new IATA-FIATA Air Cargo Program (IFACP) under the governance of IATA-FIATA Governance Board (IFGB).
     “Once it is implemented, the IATA Cargo Agency/Intermediary Program Rules will be rescinded.”
     Joana was born in Lisbon in 1980.
     She graduated in 2001 with a degree in Law from the Lisbon University Faculty of Law.
     In 2006 she continued her post-graduate education in Maritime Law.
     “In 2010, because I was not completely happy practicing law, I felt the urge to join a project that would allow me to contribute more effectively to other people’s lives.
     “So, with that purpose in mind, I took a Mediation and Conflict Resolution Course and joined APAT.
     “Since 2010—and still today—my focus is helping Portuguese freight forwarders improve and developing their businesses.
     “In this industry, I grow personally and professionally every day, and therefore I can say I am a happy person, optimistic about the future, and resilient, highly-motivated and result-oriented as a manager.”

Joana quotes

Long Term Goals

     “Long term, I wish to keep contributing the best way I can to the freight forwarders’ community.
     “I want to get involved in as many initiatives as possible in order to make the market (import and exporters around the world) understand the importance of the freight forwarders, and the added value of the service they provide.
     “In Portugal, and I believe in the rest of the world as well, only those dealing with international trade on a daily basis understand the meaning and the concept of a freight forwarder.
     “I believe forwarders need to be more proactive if we want to become real opinion makers in the transportation industry.
     “Importantly, we must make the general community and governments more aware of the importance of logistics, transports, and international trade as a whole, precisely as shown in the reference description of services published on the FIATA website.
     “I am convinced the new IFACP is a major step in the direction of better, more informed logistics choices.”

Recipe For Better Air & Ocean Business

     “Businesses must adapt to the IT technology and not just talk about it.
     “The future is digital and we cannot escape this reality.
     “I think that this will be the greatest challenge for the SME, but one challenge they will have to embrace. The future is now.
     “I believe we create the future, but if one wants to evolve, one must be open minded and embrace changes as something natural. Digital platforms and new technologies are here to stay and they are quickly transforming our services.”

FIATA Is Simply Outstanding

     “I genuinely believe that FIATA has an outstanding plan of action. I believe that all the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for FIATA are identified by the current Board.
     “Having the line of action defined will definitely allow FIATA to reinforce the importance it already has in the logistics scenario of international trade.
     “Being an organization that represents an industry covering approximately 40,000 forwarding and logistics firms, the only thing FIATA could improve, in my opinion, is the process of developing, orienting, and training to improve knowledge and motivations in our sector.
     “Perhaps even more than benefiting from an ongoing conversation, I believe all industry stakeholders could benefit from making ideas come true by deciding swiftly on implementing the changes that modern traders require. More visibility and higher frequency in SC information would be fundamental to supplying continuous feedback to the shippers.
     “Understanding and effectively explaining to our principals what the main constraints are in worldwide trade and what can be done in each country to locally develop the air cargo industry will facilitate trade at large,” Joana declared.


     “I am a member, and an active part of being in a community is to share experiences, to learn more and contribute as much and as effectively as we can.
     “We are stronger together, but we must communicate, share our thoughts, our daily constraints, and our ideas.
     “In 2017 and beyond we must gather what is useful and put it into practice. Simply put, the driving force here is we must never stop communicating with each other and working together worldwide toward the benefit of the freight forwarding community.
     “The mere trove of good practice and sales tools such as the FIATA Bill of Lading and the training opportunities are as valuable as one can make them by exploiting their distribution in each and every country.
     “Of course, one can rejoice to be chairing a meeting or meeting colleagues and friends, but that is for me the bonus track, not the album,” Joana Nunes Coelho concluded.

If You Missed Any Of The Previous 3 Issues Of FlyingTypers
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