none of it guarantees success and memories may drift
back to other initiatives like GCGAC, which took off
with great promise only to disappear underfoot almost
as quickly, Cargo Network Service’s new President
Lionel van der Walt has hit the ground running with
a surprise announcement earlier this summer of yet
another air cargo conference, set for Washington,
D.C., this year.
The new “Air Cargo
Industry Affairs Summit” (ACIA) is scheduled
for October 4-5 in Washington, D.C.
This CNS-backed event
brings a thoughtful and completely innovative wrinkle
to events of this type by delivering a program developed
with a number of major associations that lead and
represent the various constituents participating in
the air cargo value chain.
The key here is in the
wide group of people from every discipline of air
cargo who are taking the plunge into what might seem
like an impossible dream.
But here in Washington,
where what happens can affect the world, air cargo
may have finally found a new voice.
“The focus of
the program,” Lionel exclaims, “will deal
with key industry affairs topics that are of mutual
and unique common interest up and down the supply
chain, “he told FlyingTypers.
“We are close
to confirming senior officials from U.S. Customs and
Border Protection, U.S. Transportation Security Administration,
U.S. Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Treasury
“As many are government
employees, the process requires approvals within their
departments before we can publically announce their
“Right now CNS
is involved in building this event with partners Airforwarders
Association (AFA), Airlines for America (A4A), Cargo
Airline Association (CAA), Express Association of
America (EAA), Express Delivery & Logistics Association
(XLA), International Air Transport Association (IATA),
National Customs Broker and Forwarders Association
of America (NCBFAA), and The International Air Cargo
“Our event discussion
tracks are meant to focus on the importance of air
cargo and many of the issues that we face from a regulatory
For example, here is
a preview of just one of the ACIA agenda tracks that
touches everyone in our industry:
Importance of Air Cargo and its Role In e-Commerce.
“With a large
focus on e-Commerce, air cargo is adapting. We ask
what is in it for air cargo and what has to change
(or not) to meet the move by many companies like Amazon?
“This panel will
discuss the importance of air cargo in the future
growth of e-Commerce and the impact it has on the
American economy. Issues to be discussed include needed
regulatory and IT changes, the growth of U.S. exports
and the jobs created by the air cargo industry.
“We want to hear
and expand the conversation about the current Commerce
Department National Export Initiative,” Lionel
Change In the Cards?
“ACIA offers a
targeted agenda of critical issues that will impact
and could even change the way air cargo does business
out of the U.S. We may discover in some cases that
regulations may not be in alignment and create red
tape for U.S. exporters and transporters,” Lionel
on the ACIA agenda include security, customs, and
“The event will
also have a panel of political analysts to discuss
the political changes that may happen due to this
year’s Presidential election.”
“The air cargo
industry is going through one of the most difficult
periods in its history, driven by factors such as
weak global trade, overcapacity, currency fluctuations,
the impact of unexpected external shocks such as terror
attacks leading to additional costly systems and procedures,
and the list goes on,” Lionel said.
in a word, fierce, with the continuing modal shift
a real threat as the 800-pound gorilla in the room.
rates are at all-time lows and the sector is embracing
new technologies that provide access to products that
were traditionally moved by air, such as pharmaceuticals
“It is critical
that the industry come together, to address these
concerns head on and create a new base of understanding
with an action plan for the future that can benefit
“Frankly we are
concerned that there is a fundamental lack of air
cargo knowledge at the senior level in some government
“It is therefore
incumbent upon industry leaders to create a basic
understanding and communication with these key government
officials to hear our concerns and interact with our
industry leaders to ensure that they understand the
challenges we face.
“We also need
to make sure that politicians appreciate and understand
the implications of their decisions on our industry
and understand the value that air cargo adds to the
U.S. economy and its citizens.
“Air cargo is
a force for good that often gets overlooked and taken
for granted. You only have to imagine a world without
air cargo and how that would impact our lives, to
understand this importance.
“With the need
to focus on and interact with the government entities
such as CBP, TSA, FAA, Trade and Commerce, etc., we
feel that choosing Washington, D.C., as their home
base for the meeting location makes a lot of sense,”
Lionel van der Walt declared.
For More on ACIA, click here.