to FIATA,” declared
FIATA Director General Marco
Sorgetti (left) as former
UIC Freight Director Hans
Günther Kersten (right)
was selected as Mr. Sorgetti’s
successor. Kersten will
serve as FIATA Deputy Director
General until Marco retires
“I am sure a
person with your professional
background will add another
layer of accomplishments
in the long list of extraordinary
achievements of this association,”
Kersten studied Business
and Law at the University
of Cologne, Germany.
began his career as an associate
at Oppenhoff & Rädler
(later merged with Linklaters).
For the last
18 years, Hans Günther
has worked for Deutsche
Bahn in various senior management
will be present at the FIATA
World Congress in Kuala
Lumpur, Malaysia, October
4-8, 2017. The event is
open to everyone.
For more information,
Leonardo Sorgetti is an individual
everybody knows and relies upon
at FIATA. As director general, and
in reality the overseer of events
and agendas, in the broadest sense,
he is the single individual who
holds things together.
he is always soft spoken and leaves
the headline news to others in the
organization, Marco is an artisan
at his work; smart, steadfast, and
thoroughly committed to the task
of gently guiding FIATA to greatness
by working hand in glove with each
example, although FIATA had much
on the line at its 55th Annual Congress
in Dublin in October 2016, Marco,
while supporting and working very
closely with the organizers of the
event, left most of the hosting
and details up to the local cargo
organization, as is tradition in
a subtle but important fact that
FIATA makes a regular habit of developing
an empowering culture with its myriad
organizations located in countries
all over the world.
Marco turned 64 on August 28,
2016. He was born in Torino, Italy,
where he earned his sheepskin
graduating from Liceo Massimo
d’Azeglio of Torino in 1971.
His further studies included university
training in languages and foreign
literatures in Turin in 1978.
He was awarded a Certificate as
Expert in Transport and Transport
Insurance by the Chamber of Commerce
of Turin in 1986.
Does FIATA Matter
We asked Marco about FIATA and
his answer was straight from the
“FIATA matters because it
is the only organization in the
world that can stand tall in representing
the mission and knowledge of freight
forwarders and logistics service
providers at all levels of the
global market. FIATA has a strong
voice; it is historical, democratic,
widespread, and, pardon me for
being immodest, well managed.
“The organization has a
spotless reputation and it does
treasure impartiality and independence
“It is charitable, as we
have seen with the Ebola fund,
and considerate, as we see with
its training programs.
“FIATA promotes better business,
integrity, good standards, efficiency,
“This does not mean that
all our members are saints by
definition, but all freight forwarders
who want to be proud of their
job should become FIATA Members
and contribute to these objectives.
“FIATA is one for all and
all for one.”
“I first came to FIATA as
a very small forwarder from Turin,
which was not even one of the
big hubs in the world.
“At FIATA nobody knew me,
but I was always given the floor
to express my views when I raised
my hand and wanted to ask questions
or make comments.
“Nobody cared if I was big,
small, rich, or poor.
“I had a voice in FIATA
regardless of my origins and conditions.
‘This is a pretty unique
environment and not easy to copy
for anyone in the world, where
only big personalities and big
money get a podium.
“FIATA is beyond that, everybody
is somebody at FIATA and that
is what matters.
“I would be happy
if there were two FIATAs, as we
could then have some serious competition,
but there is only one.
“We do challenge each other
sufficiently, even inside the
one and only FIATA.”
Not FIATA Then What?
Although Marco excels in (pardon
the pun) forwarding the large,
diverse group of FIATA today,
he reveals a passion for psychology
“These have been my hidden
passions all these years and I
plan to start on Astrophysics
when I retire.
“I had given some thought
to becoming a shrink, but it is
probably better like this.
‘This is probably why everybody
is trying to drive me mad,”
What you like about Marco right
away is that he is a good listener
with a wealth of ideas, and he
is always willing to share. He
is also one of us—a freight
forwarder who, luckily for FIATA,
pivoted in Turin to organized
“I was a practicing freight
forwarder in Turin and, being
a bit restless, entered the area
of freight forwarder associations
quite early, out of sheer curiosity.
“Eventually I became the
president of the Turin Association
(APSACI) and continued on the
path by cooperating with the Italian
federation (FEDESPEDI) and CONFETRA.
At that time I started getting
an eye into FIATA and in 1992
when the congress was held in
Florence I made my debut by transforming
an argument over the dining table
with the European Chairman into
a self-promoting session for Turin
“We have been on good terms
ever since,” Marco smiles.
“After 1992, I attended
almost all FIATA Congresses, with
“When I sold my company
in 2000 I worked for the President
of FEDESPEDI and when the opportunity
later came I sent my resume to
CLECAT, the EU-level association
of freight forwarders’ federations.
“After a three-tier selection,
I was chosen as director.
“When my predecessor retired
from FIATA, I submitted my application
and was chosen as director of
FIATA in 2011.
“I started here on January
1, 2012, so it is now over six
next stop for the FIATA
annual World Congress is
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,
October 4-8, 2017.
the FIATA World Congress
2016 in Dublin, Marco discusses
the upcoming congress with
Malaysian Minister of Transport
Dato’ Sri Liow Tiong
Minister affirmed that "Malaysia
is eager and looking forward
to welcoming FIATA to Kuala
Forwarders Around The World
FIATA is as diverse as can be
imagined, with more than 40,000
member organizations from around
the world. We wonder how various
parts of that global group differ,
but also how they are the same.
Marco has an immediate answer,
“One could say, ‘they
are all flying’ and perhaps
that is correct; however, my impression
is that their cultural differences
tend to fade away when they talk
business, as the air rules are
probably the most unifying set
of rules that exist in the world.
“By definition, aircraft
must take off and land according
to the same rules all over the
world, and there is little time
for differences; it has also been
established last as mode of transport
and that gives airfreight the
benefit of having to deal with
the shortest legacies.”
Satisfied By The Airlines
“Completely is a very ambitious
word,” Marco gently chides.
“There is always something
that one can wish for, but in
general airlines play a role that
is irreplaceable in international
trade and in my view they work
at their best where their relationship
with freight forwarders works
FIATA/IATA On The Right Track?
“With the FIATA/IATA accord
(signed in Dublin at the FIATA
World Congress in October 2016)
on the rules forwarders and airlines
will adhere to in the next few
years, my impression is that IATA
is on track, but I daresay so
“The hope is now we will
see our relationship advance on
many fronts, including, for example,
on IT communication standards.
There are still too many problems
in this area.”
Air Cargo Security
“The British say that the
proof is in the pudding.
“Contrary to expectation,
our biggest threats (and sadly,
incidents) seem not to come from
the ‘bomb in the box.’
“We sadly learned not long
ago how much easier it is to create
havoc without even coming close
to the aircraft.
“Air cargo security is important
and I personally think it has
reached an acceptable level, with
some room for improvement, in
particular in the efficiency of
the process to manage the information
“But the boundaries of security
seem to expand continuously.”
Management Recognize Air Cargo?
“In general, I think it
“Especially as compared
to, say, 25 years ago, when many
operators, in particular in certain
markets, considered airfreight
a sort of ‘pain relief’
if something else was going wrong,
rather than an effective way to
handle the supply chain.
“Things have changed and
more and more goods privilege
air transportation; however, this
also brought considerable issues
in addressing sustainability.
“On balance I find corporate
management more aware and more
informed about the resources and
Ahead For FIATA?
“Well, FIATA started this
debate a couple years ago.
“But in 2017, for a 91-year-old
lady, FIATA has come up with a
trove of proposals that we will
try and put in place.
“There is enough to do for
a couple of lifetimes, including
much more services to members
and much more traveling to the
advocacy hubs in the world on
“We cannot pass the opportunities
that the developments in Trade
Facilitation will offer in the
next 5 to 10 years.
“In my view, TF (hand-in-hand
with security), IT standards,
and innovative financial services
will top our agendas.”
“I relax when I get home,
sit on my balcony, look at my
plants and flowers, and everything
becomes peaceful. I read a lot
and I love gardening. I love music,
especially rock music and Vivaldi.
I am also doing a lot of word
games in Italian (this is called
“Other than Turin, where
I was born and which remains in
my heart with breathtaking, snow-white
mountains surrounding it completely,
I think New York is the most spectacular
place I have ever seen.
“The first time I landed
in New York it was sunset and
we were flying above the skyscrapers
against a red sun: it was memorable.
“Today I guess this is almost
commonplace in many countries,
but back then Dubai was a village
and Shanghai was not a place on
the tour operators’ lists.
“But even today New York
remains what it has always been—the
dream of your young years.
“Nothing can ever quite
match or replace that feeling.”
“I like to dine in small,
remote, and authentic restaurants
in the countryside and for this
kind of relish, Italy is pretty
unique, Piedmont in particular.
I have a list of these places,
but I am jealous, plus the normally
rather old owners are inconsiderate
and keep dying: it is a disaster
if you want to suggest a favorite
“All this culinary tradition
comes from a long ago past which
almost does not exist anymore,
where the language is local and
mysterious. An incomprehensible
combination of passion and restraint,
with women who can show the greatest
hatred of one another just by
sitting quietly side-by-side and
“The food must be good then.”
“I am not fussy about hotels.
All I need is a good Internet
connection and a relatively hard
bed, but I must say I was impressed
with the Mandarin Oriental in
Kuala Lumpur. They really took
very good care of us and the infrastructure
is second to none.”
“Being a FIATA member is
a sign of your intention to embrace
better business rules if you are
a freight forwarder, and it is
a sign of your intention to approach
good, law abiding, and professional
operators if you are another entity
connected with logistics, trade,
and customs, even if you are not
directly involved in logistics
“The FIATA logo is the sign
that you have considered the applicable
rules in your country, that you
wish to belong to a community
of operators that try to treat
one another with respect and efficiency.
“Joining FIATA costs very
little money, but it requires
an uplifting mental process; FIATA
members are always invited to
take account of the simple integrity
and compliance rules we promote.
“Dealing with a FIATA member
means dealing with somebody who
has thought about its work at
high profile and would do its
best to remain in that league.
“Being a FIATA member is
about trying to be good and showing
that you are trying to be good,”
Marco Sorgetti concluded.