Today sets some kind of milestone
for big air cargo events, as The International Air Cargo Association
(TIACA) opens its big show in Atlanta, Georgia.
We spoke to TIACA Secretary
General Daniel Fernandez, who has been on the job since 1999
and at this point is the longest serving Sec. Gen. to hold
the position at any major air cargo industry group in history.
“ACF 2012 will be the
largest Air Cargo Forum & Exposition in our history and
it also marks the 50th anniversary of the event.
“It is also significant
that we should be returning to Atlanta because the first ever
ACF took place here in 1962.
“The level of support
for the event in terms of exhibitors, delegates, and sponsors
is especially encouraging in the tough economic climate the
industry continues to face.
“However, for any companies
looking to cement existing customer relationships or look
for new business development opportunities, ACF provides a
captive audience of leaders from every part of the air cargo
supply chain, so with executives from some 100 countries in
the space of three days you can achieve a lot in one location.
“Our conference registrations
are strong as well so we are anticipating a big attendance.
“This has been boosted
by the quality of our speakers and panelists, who are top
executives from business leaders such as Delta Air Lines,
UPS, Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, CEVA Logistics, Lufthansa
Cargo, and Coca-Cola.
“We also have senior representatives
from the Transportation Security Administration, Customs &
Border Protection, and the International Civil Aviation Organization.
“In 2012, the Forum offers
a further bonus for visitors and that is its co-location at
the Georgia World Congress Center with the Council of Supply
Chain Management Professionals’ Annual Global Conference,
the supply chain’s premier event.
“We’ve made arrangements
for their delegates to attend ACF 2012 and vice versa and
together we expect to have some 8,000 customers and suppliers
involved in the supply chain under one roof in Atlanta.
excited about this because CSCMP attracts a strong audience
of shippers and forwarders to complement the TIACA audience.
“We have also encouraged
other groups to join us in Atlanta and received strong support.
“For instance, the US
CBP and TSA are holding an ACAS Industry-Government meeting
during ACF 2012, and Cargo 2000 is having a board and members’
meeting in Atlanta to coincide with the event.
Speaker at the ACF in Atlanta will be Ray LaHood, (left) U.S.
Secretary of Transportation.
“This is a great recognition
of the air cargo industry’s importance to the U.S. economy
in terms of supporting trade and employment.
“I am sure all of our
delegates will be very interested in what Secretary LaHood
has to say.
“Our first session will
emphasize the dynamics between the needs of the customer and
the air cargo supply chain and is moderated by Ali Velshi,
Chief Business Correspondent of CNN.
“As I said, this panel
will include top executives from Delta Airlines, UPS, CEVA
Logitics, Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, and Coca-Cola.
“Session two will tackle
‘Collaboration for Smart Security: Government and Industry
Working Together’ and will be debated by TSA, CBP, ICAO,
and Lufthansa Cargo in a discussion moderated by Brandon Fried
of the Airforwarders’ Association.
“It’s up to everyone
to get the most from the great opportunity ACF 2012 provides.
“When I go to a trade
show, I always look at the exhibitors in advance and set priorities
for whom I want to see during the event.
“I also try to set up
as many meetings in advance because people’s schedules
get so full at these events.
“TIACA delegates can use
our free-of-charge Air Logistics Network to login and find
out who’s attending ACF 2012 and develop a schedule
of meetings with other attendees before actually arriving
“This is a smart, time
management move and helps make sure you achieve your targets.
“Going to a big event
like this is a fast and cost-efficient way to do business
if you plan properly.”
Softspoken, sometimes quiet,
and always introspective, Daniel Fernandez moved to his post
at TIACA after the untimely death of Garth Davies.
On The Road Again—TIACA Secretary General Daniel Fernandez
(c) with TIACA Trustee members, Sanjiv Edwards, (left) Associate
Vice President (Commercial) Delhi International Airport Limited,
and Madhav Kulshreshtha (right).
Previously, Daniel had served
in a key post at the big, influential Miami World Trade Center
as VP Operations.
“You always learn something
new with every position.
“Although I had a background
in international trade and trade shows with the Hong Kong
Trade Development Council, it was with the World Trade Center’s
Air Cargo Americas show that I became familiar with the air
cargo industry specifically.
“When I joined TIACA we
were a much smaller organization with a vision for becoming
a strong voice for the industry.
“Today I believe we are
well on our way with the progress we have made, especially
in the last few years.
“I am the first to admit
that there’s always much more we need to do but we are
gaining greater recognition at a regulatory level now and
that is increasing our influence.
“The caliber of the people
serving on our Board is an indication that TIACA has become
a credible and effective means for air cargo leaders to make
a difference that benefits the industry.
“But it must be said that
TIACA is a collaborative effort, so it’s not the sole
work of any one person.
“I have been privileged
though the years to have worked with so many of the very best
and brightest individuals, and TIACA has prospered.
“I think we have consistently
demonstrated our ability to bring the industry together and
now we are bringing more regulatory bodies to the table to
listen to the views, ideas, and concerns of the air cargo
“TIACA membership has
grown to nearly 600 companies in 2012—its highest level
ever —and ACF 2012 will once again prove to be the premier
air cargo industry event.
“Something else that stands
out in terms of progress is the creation of the Global Air
Cargo Advisory Group (GACAG) with our partners IATA, FIATA,
and Global Shippers’ Forum.
“This was formed at our
last Air Cargo Forum in Amsterdam at the end of 2010 to deal
with new challenges facing our industry, and the progress
the GACAG is making is very encouraging.
“Often the work is out
of the public eye in terms of building close working relationships
with government departments and regulatory bodies.
“TIACA is proud, as the
facilitator of GACAG, to be taking a vital role on behalf
of that group.
“TIACA has a well defined
and clear set of objectives; specifically, harmonization of
air cargo security and customs standards.
“Both of these are so
important to the far greater adoption of e-commerce—another
priority, along with environmental regulations.
“In terms of future ACF
locations, in 2014 we will be in Seoul, hosted by Incheon
International Airport, and this will be a great venue for
our delegates given Seoul’s prominence as an air cargo
“As for the longer-term,
we are always open to approaches from potential hosts. It
might be an ambitious and upcoming airport that wants to put
itself on the world air cargo map, or one of the world’s
top cargo hub cities that wants to reinforce its standing
in the industry.
“Historically, the ACF
has rotated between the Americas, Asia, and Europe in that
“So, as example to some
that might view or wonder when there might be a South American
venue, it would have to be no earlier than 2018.
“Today TIACA has matured
from an organization that was primarily providing great networking
events for its members to a credible advocate for the industry.
“Security and environmental
regulations aimed at the air cargo industry increasingly merit
our attention and efforts in bringing about sensible policies
that will not negatively impact the global air cargo industry.
“The face of our industry
is changing rapidly.
“Emerging markets in the
developing world are fueling growth for our industry.
“Technology has allowed
many new companies to rapidly enter and compete. TIACA is
actively reaching out to these companies mainly in the BRIC
countries. For example we have engaged representation in China
and India to better engage with new members and regulatory
“But we still put on the
best trade show in the world!”
Daniel Fernandez says that his
travel schedule is not fixed, but varies with “the needs
of our worldwide membership and our own agenda.
“I attend other trade
shows and industry events to meet our members in person and
to increase awareness of the Association.”
In terms of which city (ies)
are favorites, Daniel says “London because of its rich
history, although Rome would be a very close second.”
If given the opportunity to
speak personally to each attendee of ACF 2012, Daniel would
have some great things to say.
“In Atlanta, TIACA and
CSCMP expect to welcome some 8,000 senior executives from
across the global air cargo supply chain.
“This is a unique opportunity
to listen to what’s going on in our industry, to network,
to meet customers, and to find new business opportunities.
“Most of our delegates
come for all three days, but even if you can only spare a
day, it will be a very wise investment of your time and I
am confident you will be back for longer at the next ACF.
“I would also like to
take this opportunity to thank our excellent hosts, Hartsfield-Jackson
Atlanta International Airport, and our host committee of H-JAIA,
Delta Air Lines, UPS, and Metro Atlanta Chamber for putting
on what I know will be a fantastic three days and an outstanding
commercial for the airport and the City of Atlanta.
To that we add thanks to Daniel,
a most consummate professional, someone who makes the work
Many people around the world
are lifted by his great work and legacy of steady, decent
service to air cargo.