FlyingTypers Logo
Family Aid 2020
   Vol. 22 No. 10
Friday March 17, 2023

Stronger Together Navigatating Uncertainties With FIATA

     A relatively new Italian writer, Beppe Sebaste, in 2008 published a book with a curious title: “Panchine”, i.e. park benches in Italian: an unusual book with no real plot, but with the declared purpose of “getting out of this world without getting out of it”.
     In his book, Sebaste describes the magnificence of the surroundings of some of the most iconic benches in Europe, touching unparalleled artistic genius: the author’s description of the benches in Rome’s gardens is pure poetry. So is the description of two small benches in Geneva, where his son was studying at the time. But Geneva is also the place where the word “bench” finds an unexpected term of excellence. The longest park bench in the world, as noted in the Guinness World Records: le Banc de la Treille is precisely in Geneva and, albeit only in French, enriches the city website with a qualified description.
     Obviously there are thousands of other reasons why visiting Geneva is well worth the effort, but in my view this is a rather original one and for sure worth it. That is where I am heading today Friday, but the reason why I am packing to get to Geneva on 17th of March is of course another and has to do with FIATA, the all-time object of my attentions.
     Despite being now retired, I have kept my contacts with the many friends, and I make it a point to attend FIATA’s events whenever convenient. The next one coming up this week-end is the traditional spring meeting at the FIATA Headquarters (HQ). As FIATA’s very efficient communication team puts it, “this will be a unique opportunity to network with old and new acquaintances and familiarise yourself with the surroundings.”
     The HQ was originally just for association members to discuss their most important issues and keep delegates up to date with the policy items that were hitting the tables of the UN, but in the years it has been climbing to the level of an important spring gathering in international freight forwarding and logistics. It boasts an interesting programme of speakers and, while still being an event for FIATA Members, it manages to gather a growing number of participants, which comes as no surprise, given the numbers in FIATA’s membership base. Geneva is relatively close to Turin, where I live now, reachable in a few hours by car or train, despite the two cities being at either sides of the Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe.
Ivan Petrov     In preparation of my arrival I had the opportunity to speak briefly with my great friend Ivan Petrov, who is the President of FIATA, and I am happy to share with our readers a short statement I have captured in the conversation. “The highly anticipated FIATA Headquarters meeting of 2023 marks a return to fully in-person meetings focusing on strengthening the bonds between FIATA’s global membership as we prepare to ‘Navigate Uncertainty.’ The work of FIATA this year will be led by the Mission, Vision and Values defined by the FIATA Presidency which was translated into 44 priorities for the Headquarters Team to focus on. I am proud to welcome FIATA Members from more than 60 countries who are attending this year’s meeting, with 33 hours of sessions, to witness the transformational growth the organisation has had since the Reset Programme, and to contribute to the various discussions and workshops to foster the knowledge of its members to ensure a sustainable and resilient supply chain.”
 Jan Hoffman    This is a statement you can take seriously. FIATA has managed to pull together a programme that will kindle the appetite of its members and their guests. President Petrov will open the HQ as tradition imposes, and our celebrated friend Jan Hoffmann (please, read his interview in one of the previous issues of the FlyingTypers) will be in charge of the keynote, portraying an up-to-date picture of global trade and logistics as only an institution like UNCTAD can.
     The Multimodal Transport Institute (MTI) will then occupy the stage with a one-and-a-half-hour workshop on the following topics: 'Transport shifts and new corridors' and the 'Assessment of global drivers’ shortages from FIATA`s perspective'. The workshop will feature personalities of gravitas: Mr Roel Janssens, Secretary to the Working Party on Transport Trends, UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe), Mr Philip Van Den Bosch, Senior Freight Strategy Advisor, UIC (International Union of Railways), Mr Murat Seitnepesov, Chairman of the Board, Caspian Container Company SA and Mr Jens Hügel, Senior Adviser at IRU (International Road Transport Union).

Philip Van Den Bosch, Jens Hügel, Roel Janssens, Murat Seitnepesov

Jens Roemer     This high speed debut will be followed by the maritime panel, which summarises in its title the teething issue that has occupied our thoughts and projects for some time now: 'Sustainability at What Cost?' Mr Jens Roemer, FIATA Senior Vice President and FIATA Working Group Sea Chair, a friend the FlyingTypers has gladly interviewed more than once in the past, will be moderating the panel where contiguous interests will be represented to entertain a lively debate.
     It should come to no surprise that FIATA embraces such a wide variety of topics. If you look at the screenshot of today’s FIATA website, there is hardly any hot issue missing from the front line:
     And if you delve into the lines of the FIATA Review and the various newsletters, the landscape of the issues we are facing is complete, without forgetting a human touch such as FIATA Members’ efforts for the terrible earthquake in Turkey and Syria. We should not forget how crucial the sector has been in the deployment of COVID vaccines and PPE’s all around the world. Is there anybody who could calculate how many more lives would have been lost in this situation without the efficient global logistics machine in operation? Hardly, but this is history in a fast moving organisation like FIATA. So let us go back to the upcoming Headquarters’ in Geneva and its informative bonanza.
Stephane Graber     In preparation of my travel to Geneva, I had a piece of luck: Stephane Graber, FIATA’s Director General, found the time to release a brief statement. Having worked in his demanding position in years past, I consider the mere fact that he found the time to respond to my appeal as a friendly favour. Here goes his professional statement: “The logistics community must come together to navigate the uncertainty that underpins geopolitical tensions, economic volatility and regulatory ambiguity. The FIATA Headquarters meeting aims to be the platform that brings FIATA's Association Members to Geneva. FIATA is committed to continuous improvement and strives to make the 2023 Headquarters meeting more engaging and interactive than ever, by involving its 200 attendees from the forwarding and logistics sector in a series of workshops and panels. Key themes this year include decarbonisation of the shipping sector, workforce shortage, cybersecurity, cargo loading safety, a fit for purpose global programme for air freight, and trade facilitation. The FIATA team has curated exchanges with 30 experts on these topics and welcomes you to Geneva to benefit from a mutually enriching exchange.”
     Speaking of Stephane Graber’s team, I was able to witness their multifarious abilities last year on the same occasion in May. Members’ expectations are high, but surely these will be not only met, but surpassed by the women and men of the fine team working at FIATA today. The team’s continuous assistance ensures the smooth deployment of the sessions, and this will be crucial with topics of importance on Sunday 19th of March, when inter-alia the Customs Affairs Institute’s (CAI) Workshop will take place debating the challenges of 'Trade Facilitation and regional AEO programmes', as well as 'Standardisation and harmonisation of Advanced Cargo Information globally, and dataset standardisation to facilitate electronic data exchange'. The professionals participating in the deliberations are front runners and will not fail to capture the attention of the audience, despite the technicality of the issues. CAI is not the only FIATA body where technique is on demand, the Safety and Security Panel will not baulk before technical questions, considering the panel will debate the issue of 'Combatting Cybercrime – Best Practices for A More Resilient Business’. We all know that “best practices” is a key word to watch for, if you wish to learn something new in trade and logistics. I shall make sure not to miss this session.
     Indeed, the FIATA production is flourishing in other directions as well. Just days ago the Best Practice in contract management has been launched and now the AB Legal Matters launches a quarterly newsletter for members that, in their own words, will deal with “the rapid evolution of global events in the maritime supply chain [which] has seen the emergence of important legal developments for the freight forwarding and logistics industry, as well as a renewed focus on legal aspects as part of risk management strategies. This quarterly legal newsletter will inform FIATA members of important legal developments around the world and provide practi¬cal considerations from a legal perspective.”
     An all-time favourite for many a member, the ABLM, chaired by our friend Dr Yang Yuntao, is where my journey in FIATA started over thirty years ago . . . This year their attention is focussed on ‘UNCITRAL work on negotiable multimodal transport documents’. After many years there is some advancement and many counties are contemplating the legal instrument with keener interest. My memory goes back to the years when I was attending the sessions in Vienna in the company of the distinguished colleagues who worked with great intuition and dedication to achieve a result that seemed impossible many years ago. Another session to follow and treasure in my view.
     The day closes with airfreight and here I daresay FIATA comes back to the front line with a conversation on the ‘Development of a Global Air Cargo Programme for all regions’, which is a topic that has occupied FIATA’s and IATA’s pages for well over a decade, with many phases of stop and go. As FIATA itself puts it: “Regional FIATA Representatives will focus on facilitating an engaging internal discussion with FIATA Association Member delegates from all Regions, with a view to gathering practical feedback on industry needs for a modern global air cargo programme. This will equip FIATA and its delegates with the necessary tools and strategies needed in this quickly evolving sector.”
     There is a panel, interlinked in the airfreight part of the meeting, which will then debate ‘Effective Handling and Transportation of Unit Load Devices: Addressing Safety, Security, and Best Practices in Airfreight’, with distinguished panellists from all corners of the industry: Christopher Licht, Managing Director, Çelebi Aviation Holding, André Majeres, Head of Cargo Operations, Mail and E-commerce, IATA (International Air Transport Association) and Dawit Woubishet Teklemariam, FIATA Airfreight Institute Chair, among others participating in the Air Freight Institute part.

Daeit Woubishet Teklemariam, Andre Majeres, Christopher Licht

     Interesting sessions for all FIATA regions are scattered throughout the programme, as FIATA caters for an unparalleled array of nations, habits, colours and cultures and despite the specialised nature of the conversations, which obviously embrace logistics issues, each region has its own specific way of sharing experiences and enriching the regions’ participants’ package for their future homework.
     For the accompanying persons, FIATA has arranged a pleasant daily programme that in my view is worth a visit to Geneva on its own. On Monday the participants will benefit from a really unique Geneva attraction: a visit to the UN Geneva headquarters, which will also provide a glimpse to distinctive points of interest: the Human Rights and Alliance of Civilisations Room, decorated by the famous artist Miquel Barcelò, the library of the Palais des Nations, the UN Museum of Geneva, a Part of the Ariana Park and the monument commemorating the conquest of outer space, the Council Chamber, where many important historical negotiations have taken place, with murals by José Maria Sert. This exclusive offer will be followed by a visit to the Red Cross Museum in the following morning.

Thierry Moreno, Jules Courtois, James Coombes, Roman Heimgartner

     For the active delegates, with the Advisory Body Information Technology (ABIT), the programme becomes more and more interesting with windows opening onto the most topical issues of modernisation and the future of logistics: the ‘Impact of new technologies’ will be debated by James Coombes, CEO, Raft; Jules Courtois, Founder and CEO, Green Future; Roman Heimgartner, Head of Digital, AELER and Thierry Moreno, CEO, NV Logistics, who participate in ABIT’s Innovation and Artificial Intelligence Panel. AI is one of the hottest topics in the policy rooms of the institutions. Perhaps a belated understanding of developments that have already taken place, rather than an attempt to put the issue in an orderly frame, in any case a hot potato for members to handle and debate.
     The last day of this very attractive edition of the FIATA HQ will feature the much appreciated FIATA learning programmes’ panels and the International Affairs Advisory Body. I do not think I am allowed to say that this saves the best for the last, because everything else is also interesting for professionals in logistics, but FIATA training programmes have been a world standard for decades and members’ interest in the training qualifications is an ever green that knows no retreat. At four p.m. President Petrov will draw the gathering to a close and delegates will be free to join their families and friends who came to visit and enjoy even more attractions in Geneva and the diverse and spectacular geography of its surroundings. The still immaculate view of the Alps, when they eventually fly back home, will add a finishing touch to the picture of this remarkable excursion.
     Let me stop this long list of impressive initiatives here, with apologies to those who have not been mentioned, but this programme is so rich that it can hardly fit in an article. My choices were not based on the individual importance of the topics and speakers, rather my limited viewpoint, based on my memories and perceptions, may have prevailed. I am sure this year’s FIATA HQ will be an eventful meeting and a good opportunity to once again renew the strong bond that FIATA Members foster as a group. This is why we all go back to FIATA’s conventions every year and participate so keenly in the deliberations. We share our knowledge and experience and learn so much in return that we are even surprised and grateful for this opportunity, which allows each and every FIATA Member to emerge stronger together.
Marco Sorgetti

If You Missed Any Of The Previous 3 Issues Of FlyingTypers
Access complete issue by clicking on issue icon or
Access specific articles by clicking on article title
Vol 22. No. 7
Crime Spike Has South Africa On Guard
Air Canada Freighters New Normal
Catch 22? Lionel Glad To Be Back
QR Cargo Flowers Growth
Scenes At Air Cargo 2023
Vol. 22 No. 8
Tulsi Mirchandaney
Chuckles for March 1, 2023
ATC Africa
Campbell Loves the Maharajah
The AI Maharajah
Men Mountain Smiths 2.0
A Custom Broker's Custom Broker

Vol. 22 No. 9
On The Mark@Intermodal
Banker's Miserable Numbers
Qatar Cargo Once-A-Day First
United Cargo Annual Meet
Sheryle 'Cheese' Burger Lens Of Love
Cathay Pacific Cargo now Cathay Cargo

Publisher-Geoffrey Arend • Managing Editor-Flossie Arend • Editor Emeritus-Richard Malkin
Film Editor-Ralph Arend • Special Assignments-Sabiha Arend, Emily Arend

Send comments and news to geoffrey@aircargonews.com
Opinions and comments expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher but remain solely those of the author(s).
FlyingTypers reserves the right to edit all submissions for length and content. All photos and written material submitted to this publication become the property of FlyingTypers Media.
Copyright ©2023 FTMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
More@ www.aircargonews.com

recycle100% Green