A few days ago I started receiving
Adventszeit messages from Zurich, where I lived during my collaboration
with FIATA (2011-2017). The Swiss are consistent and cherish their traditions,
so when you start receiving their messages in the beginning of December
you know that the holidays are approaching and you should get ready.
Geoffrey and Sabiha are always glad to prepare
some special reading for the FlyingTypers in this period, to make their
readers happy whilst waiting for the New Year. Together we decided to
reach out to some of our aficionados and gather their comments and wishes.
The holidays always seem far away and all of a sudden tomorrow is Christmas,
so you need to use a bit of timing. When you talk of punctuality and time
perception, the Swiss probably take the podium, but next in line you could
probably place Americans. Accordingly, our good friend Brandon Fried replied
with a very meaningful proposition among the first ones received: please
read his “letter to Santa” here below and you will get a good
idea of what is to be expected in the next few months of the year, from
a USA perspective.
It should be noted that we are looking at
nearly half of the world going to the polls one way or another in 2024.
This probably means some changes going forward. It will be a turning point
in many countries; even though guessing political results is not one of
my favorite sidelines, it is difficult to keep a distance and throttle
your doubts. In any case this can hardly be described as a peaceful period;
we are torn between skepticism and anxiety, expecting the unexpected.
In this light Brandon’s words may even sound reassuring and this
makes it such a welcome reading for me. So, ladies and gentlemen let me
give you: An Executive Director's Perspective: The Airforwarders Association's
Wishlist for 2024, presented as a letter to Santa.
I hope this message finds you well and in
good spirits as the holiday season approaches. As we stand on the brink
of 2024—a year marked by significant global events and elections—I
wanted to share the Airforwarders Association's aspirations for the airfreight
industry. Amidst the complexities of political transitions, we remain
optimistic about cultivating a resilient and prosperous air forwarding
* Emphasis on Sustainable
We fervently wish for a global commitment
to sustainable practices within the airfreight industry. Environmental
consciousness is taking center stage, and we encourage industry players
to adopt eco-friendly initiatives voluntarily. Whether through fuel-efficient
aircraft, investments in alternative fuels, or green logistics solutions,
a sustainable future is within reach.
*Example:* We draw inspiration from collaborative
efforts within the industry, such as Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) initiatives
undertaken by major airlines. These initiatives,
driven by industry understanding and commitment, serve as models for a
more sustainable airfreight ecosystem. These sustainability initiatives
should remain voluntary, driven by industry commitment rather than being
imposed by unfunded and unattainable government mandates. Further, we
encourage governments worldwide to assist in SAF production by providing
the necessary funding for refining infrastructure and industry adoption
* Technological Advancements
and Digital Transformation:
Our hope is for increased investment in
digital technologies like blockchain, IoT, and AI, driving efficiency
and transparency in air forwarding operations. These advancements are
essential to streamline processes, reduce delays, and enhance overall
supply chain visibility.
*Example:* Pilot projects showcasing the
implementation of AI technology in supply chains have demonstrated its
potential to enhance traceability, reduce fraud, and improve collaboration
* Resilience and Agility
in the Face of Global Challenges:
Recognizing the inevitability of disruptions,
we hope for a continued emphasis on building resilience and agility in
supply chains. This focus will empower airforwarders to navigate unforeseen
challenges with adaptability and innovation.
*Example:* The industry's response to the
challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic exemplified the importance of
resilience. Companies adapted swiftly, demonstrating the capacity to meet
shifting demands and implementing innovative solutions to maintain the
flow of goods.
* International Collaboration
for Regulatory Harmonization:
Harmonization of international regulations
is paramount for a seamless and efficient airfreight network. Our wish
is for increased collaboration among nations to streamline customs and
security procedures, reduce bureaucratic hurdles, and create a conducive
environment for international trade.
*Example:* Initiatives like the World Trade
Organization’s (WTO) and World Customs Organization's (WCO) toward
Trade Facilitation aim to simplify and harmonize customs procedures globally,
fostering a more efficient cross-border movement of goods. Further, air
cargo security requirements should harmonize globally with consistent
rules for screening and handling of cargo.
* Investment in Workforce
The backbone of the airforwarding industry is
a skilled and adaptable workforce. We hope for increased investment in
training and education programs, equipping professionals with the skills
necessary to navigate the evolving landscape of airfreight.
*Example:* Collaborative industry-led training
programs and partnerships with educational institutions can bridge the
skills gap, ensuring a well-prepared workforce for the future.
As we navigate the challenges and opportunities
that 2024 will undoubtedly bring, the Airforwarders Association remains
committed to advocating for policies and initiatives that foster a resilient,
sustainable, and innovative airfreight industry.
Thank you for considering our perspective,
and we look forward to continued collaboration and progress in the coming
That was a good reality check in my
view and I daresay it is quite a feat considering its nature as a list
On the other hand, if you wish to be a bit
more pungent in your observation you could actually argue that some of
Brandon’s hopes have been there in our wishes for quite some time
and despite the relevant and meaningful debate, not much has been achieved
yet, in particular if you consider issues regarding the environment. In
this light I must say aviation starts in disadvantage. As Brandon correctly
observed is it very difficult to dispose of fossil fuels in aviation but
we hope SAF will be of assistance. In other modes of transport perhaps
more could have been done in time, but progress has not been extraordinary
there either. Similarly, we could observe in IT and digitalization, where
the instruments have been there for a long time now, progress is possibly
slower than we could expect and would have wished.
On this point we have already informed our
readers when reporting on TIACA’s summit. There will be more to
read in future though, as we plan to receive additional input from other
“usual suspects” of ours. It is in the pipeline, stay tuned!
With this, it is now my turn now to wish
all our readers a good Advertszeit period, followed by peaceful and enjoyable
Marco L. Sorgetti