Lionel van der Walt, Global Chief Commercial
Officer, and the PayCargo team on the half shell during International
Air Transport Association IATA’s 2021 World Cargo Symposium (WCS)
in Dublin, Ireland, an event mostly attended by northern Europeans. Team
met with FIATA International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations
Director General Dr. Stephane Graber as new exclusive online payment platform
for FIATA members, called Freight-Pay rolls out worldwide.
In the picture (l to r) Stéphane
Graber, FIATA Director General, Lionel van der Walt, PayCargo LLC Global
Chief Commercial Officer, Brandon Fried, The Airforwarders Association
Executive Director (taking notes?), Michael White, PayCargo LLC Board
Here Brandon, the intrepid President of the U.S.-based The Airforwarders
Association reflects on (IATA) World Cargo Symposium (WCS).
“IATA rolled out the red carpet for
the air cargo community in this quaint city with some of the most friendly
local people and best tasting Guinness stout in the world.
“There is no doubt that the international
border restrictions have adversely impacted the airline industry (international
travel dropped 78) and IATA wants countries to reopen immediately for
all travelers so that air capacity is restored and we can get back to
business as usual. IATA Chief Willie Walsh said that industry was too
soft on governments early on which resulted in harsh travel restrictions
which must now end.
“By the way, we can expect favorable
change at IATA under Willie Walsh. He's the man for a promising future
and we expect great things from him.
“As the air cargo industry enters
the post-pandemic world, IATA is calling for more digitalization (e-airwaybill
penetration is over 60% with room for improvement), an eye on environmental
sustainability (airlines recently resolved to achieve net-zero carbon
emissions by 2050) and an increased vigilance on dangerous goods, especially
in the transportation of lithium batteries.
“The goal of increased automation
is certainly laudable and the Airforwarders Association continues to urge
its members that increased investments in technology will yield tremendous
returns in efficiency and customer satisfaction. In fact, forwarders are
not technological neanderthals and most continue to purchase and use automation
daily for airline bookings and customer transactions. Forwarders are investing
in our future to meet the complex challenges and informational needs ahead.
“The biggest takeaway from this conference
is that our industry must focus more on the lithium battery threat to
avoid catastrophe caused by thermal runaway fires.
“IATA just initiated its Lithium Battery
Certification Program which should go a long way in creating awareness,
detection and vigilance throughout the air cargo industry. That said,
governments need to increase efforts to enforce stricter manufacturing
and packaging standards of these batteries while punishing those who evade
the rules. IATA is calling for increased regulation in this important
area to protect the airline industry.
“Overall, this was a worthwhile event
and I look forward to others in the future.”