Exclusive)—A lot has been written in recent weeks about the
ACF 2014 exhibition and conference in Seoul with most of it being focused
on the poor exhibitor attendance that will undoubtedly leave TIACA in
a huge financial lurch.
I can confirm that this is certainly how
it played out with the size of the hall much smaller than previous years
with far fewer exhibitors present.
That being said, I don’t think we
can simply judge the success of this conference based on how many companies
paid for the square footage in the exhibition hall because TIACA is much
bigger than a trade show.
It is an organization that is trying very
hard to represent all aspects of the industry to find solutions to the
many challenges that we face.
Unfortunately, TIACA in my view just doesn’t
have the resources to keep the momentum going over the long term since
the majority of time is spent selling exhibition space for the next ACF!
I strongly believe that TIACA needs to undertake
a new membership structure where companies pay much higher annual dues
based on their turnover and completely eliminates the reliance on a massive
trade show to finance the organization’s agenda every two years.
The organization would be better served
turning their gatherings (both the ACF and AGM) into true networking conferences
where leaders from all corners of our industry gather and discuss the
meaty issues, including the drivers to make air cargo work better with
our counterparts on the regulatory side of the equation.
Under that scenario TIACA conferees could
expect an action plan to move the ball a few yards down the field rather
than regurgitating the same topics every gathering, year after year. In
between these meetings, the attendees can play a round of golf and do
some commercial business.
This is very similar to how CNS operates
and I would argue that it is the most successful industry gathering in
the world today.
We might even be so bold as to begin to
link the agendas of IATA WCS, CNS and TIACA so we can meet as an industry
every four months and really tackle the major issues until we get solutions.
TIACA has a very important role to play
in this industry but if it doesn’t evolve its rigid philosophy around
its AGM and ACF to be in sync with the current market realities it will
always be treading water to keep from drowning rather than thriving.
I have confidence that Doug and Oliver will
be able overcome this latest stumble and change the model to ensure long-
term viability for an organization with a long proud history of serving