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   Vol. 22 No. 35
Saturday September 30, 2023

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FIATA Brussels World Congress 2023

     September ends on Saturday this year. I am on a plane to Brussels, one of my favourite destinations. Many reasons to rejoice: I lived there quite happily for nearly 10 years when I worked in CLECAT and I am revisiting now to participate in the much awaited FIATA World Congress 2023, which will be held in the spectacular Square Brussels Convention Centre. A shot from one of the largest ports in the world (Antwerp), Brussels is the place where you find all EU institutions abuzz, and this makes it a special place in itself. Some have been wondering why Brussels was chosen as “EU capital”, if the EU capital actually existed . . .
     I shall steer clear of this political debate, but I will mention a couple of historical traits Wikipedia expertly provides, which contribute to making Brussels quite unique: Charles of Habsburg (Charles V) was born on 24th of March 1500 in the Prinsenhof of Ghent [which is about 35 miles from the Congress Venue] to Habsburg Archduke Philip the Handsome, the son of Emperor Maximilian I and Mary of Burgundy, and Joanna of Castile, younger child of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, the Catholic Monarchs of Spain. He was Holy Roman Emperor, Archduke of Austria, King of Spain and Lord of the Netherlands as Duke of Burgundy. His dominions included the Holy Roman Empire, from Germany to northern Italy, the Austrian hereditary lands and the Burgundian Low Countries, Spain, with its possessions of Naples, Sicily, Sardinia [and even] the Americas, during both Spanish and German colonization. The personal union of the European and American territories of Charles V was labelled "the empire on which the sun never sets.”
     This is the reason why I have disturbed the old monarch five centuries later: FIATA also is embracing a territory on which the sun never sets, and quite factually so. It wakes up with New Zealand and it goes to bed when the sun has come back to the Pacific Ocean after covering Australia, China, India, the South East Asian countries, Siberia, the Middle East, Europe, Africa and then North, South and Central America. FIATA membership literally covers at least 23 of the 24 time zones. Hence, sleeping is not easy if you work in FIATA: kudos to the ladies and gentlemen who run the business from Geneva now. I know only too well how demanding their task this is.
Antonella Straulino and Jean-Claude Delen     Jean-Claude Delen, who regularly speaks to the FT, served both as President of CLECAT and FIATA in the past; being a Belgian native and still a very active businessman, who travelled extensively in the FIATA regions, he will surely be able to tell you more during the Congress.
     Another good friend of ours is Antonella Straulino of Fedespedi, Italy. She is Chairwoman of the FIATA Region Europe and has a long story within FIATA and CLECAT. I asked her what her take was about this year’s Congress in Brussels and this was her reply: “My first Fiata Congress was in Caracas in 1996, so I have some experience . . . Fedespedi is among the bidders to host the centennial celebrations in 2026 with a Congress in Italy, one of the founding members of FIATA. This year’s congress in Brussels is particularly important because we are in Europe and we are in the capital of United Europe. This being said, the FIATA Congress is the best moment to meet the whole world, make new contacts and meet up with your old friends, a time when you work hard, but you also have intervals to relax and celebrate life and friendship. That’s my perspective about the Congress in general and this year’s in particular. At the end of the day, who wouldn't want to do good business by just sitting around, meeting friends and drinking the best beer in the world?”
Ivan Petrov      This year’s programme is slightly different from tradition and reserves a large, official part to public sessions that will be open for debate and presentations by many well-known personalities. Most of the delegates’ working sessions will precede the Opening Ceremony. Obviously much of the attention will be captured by the handover ceremony, when the outgoing President Ivan Petrov (left) will pass the baton to his successor, as 2023 is an electoral congress.
     Our consumed readers already know Ivan Petrov rather well, as many articles and interviews of the FlyingTypers saw him among our heroes. I am so happy that I shall see him again soon and meet all the other friends in the Presidency, the Extended Board and the vast FIATA membership base, who will flock to Brussels in large numbers. Ivan has described his experience as President of FIATA in the most remarkable manner: “I feel I am another person. I have learnt so much that I can look at the world with different, better eyes now.”
     For the regular FT readers, who are probably more interested in airborne subjects, on October 1st there will be an Air Freight Institute special session between 10:30-12:00 CEST, with a fist class line of speakers.

Dawit Woubishet, Andrea Tang, Bert Selis, Rutger-Jan Pengels, David Bellon, Barbara Hiebendahl

     The information is thus provided by FIATA: “The above panel of experts will explore how to enhance data exchange and the role of digitalisation in making the airfreight industry more sustainable during the session titled ‘How to foster collaboration to optimise airfreight operations’. They will also delve into the Master Operating Plan and its practicality in day-to-day operations and the ways to enhance overall operational productivity in the air cargo supply chain.”

Michael Yarwood, Christian Clauwers, Viktorlia Rudyk, Hashi Bin Yaakob, Andre Hein Gerber, Nils von Salzen

     Another aspect, which makes FIATA quite a unique organisation, is the attention paid to the young in general and the students in particular, benefiting from one of the most accomplished learning programmes in the world; these are among the many other benefits of the FIATA association. The YLP has become a reference model to follow. This is how FIATA puts it: “Meet with the younger generation and be part of the ongoing competition of the Young Logistics Professionals Award 2023. The regional winners will not only share their passion for logistics through a dynamic talk show! Get ready to be inspired by our keynote speaker Christian Clauwers, who will address the topic of climate change and its consequence on logistics operations.” The event, continuing the tradition of the new approach to young professionals which commenced in Singapore in 2013, will be held on October 4th.
     Of course there will be multimodal, legal matters, international affairs, Customs, security and the many different topics that FIATA covers, and then a little ontspanning . . . No congress can be only work. As Antonella said, the social part is sometimes even more important and Brussels is a place that can surprise you, with its rich and diverse cultural offer and its exceptional cuisine: please do not miss the Waterzooi and the Carbonade Flamande. It is just one step further in being special than the traditional Moules et Frites, but this is a meal your palate will not forget, believe me.
     So, let me summarise: if you are interested in logistics and airfreight, Brussels is your must-be venue next week; if you are interested in fine dining, please make sure you reserve your tables in the city; if you are an art connoisseur, please do not miss Brussels exceptional museums. Let me open a small parenthesis here: these Belgian museums and art galleries are among the best in the world, they have unique artwork on display and they are rich in explanations in many languages. Do words like Impressionism, Magritte, Flemish painters evoke curiosity? The fine historical buildings where they are situated will open their arms for you like a shrine. Museums and contemporary lifestyle mix their genes in Brussels: Comics, strips, Smurfs, chocolate pralines and much more . . . well, the answer is always there at walking distance. You like Art Nouveau? Take a look at Horta’s creatures, including his own house, but please start from Brussels Central Station. Not a usual suggestion, Brussels Centraal is more than just a train station, if you look at it carefully.
     What can I tell you more? If you have nothing totally unavoidable to do elsewhere next week, well, join me in Brussels! I will tell you all the tricks that you need to open the Belgian capital as a precious oyster. Maybe while eating the oysters at the Sablon you will discover a pearl you did not expect?
Marco Sorgetti

chuckles For September 30, 2015

India Third Largest Economy In 2027?

     India could be the third largest economy in the world. That is what a report by SBI Ecowrap (the Ecowrap is India’s biggest bank, The State Bank of India’s publication and the opinion expressed is of the Research Team and not necessarily reflect those of the Bank or its subsidiaries) pointed out. It said that India was likely to get the tag of the third largest economy in 2027 (or FY28) based on actual GDP data as of March 2023, surpassing the economies of both Germany and Japan. “Behind this surge, India needs to grow by CAGR of 8.4% till 2027 (in dollar terms). This translates into 11 -11.5% nominal GDP growth per annum (in Rs terms), which is eminently achievable with a 6.5-7% growth rate,” the report said.
Jyotiraditya Scindia     A little more than a year ago, FT had reported Indian Minister of Civil Aviation, Jyotiraditya Scindia’s power-packed speech, “The road to 10 million MT”. Underlining the limitless potential of India's air cargo sector, Scindia had said: “To achieve the target of 10 million metric ton in cargo, the industry players need to focus on transportation of smaller cargo loads from Tier II and III cities to metros which can be achieved by acquisition of smaller size aircrafts. To facilitate this, we are also establishing 33 new domestic cargo terminals by 2024-2025 which will allow our cargo sector to flourish and grow. We need to work on ease of doing business in cargo sector by making processes paperless, adapting automation, digitalization which can make cargo processing swift.”
     India then needs to up its game on the cargo front. The country, according to the government’s ministry of Commerce and Industry, has the capability to become a global cargo hub. Piyush Srivastava, Senior Economic Advisor with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, not too long ago had pointed out: “I feel (that a) country of our size, dimension should have transshipment hubs. For creating a hub, (the) government can only provide a facilitating environment but the hub will be created on global economic scenario and how the industry sees the growth . . . Air India placed huge order of widebody aircraft, which will boost the creation of aviation hubs in the country. We are poised to achieve this target in the coming years,” he had said.
     It may be pointed out that with the Delhi Airport’s dedicated transshipment excellence centre, the country is already on its way towards becoming a desired transshipment hub for global trade. FT readers might remember the story on how readymade garments manufactured in Bangladesh have been using the Delhi Airport to reach out to destinations in Europe and the US.
Satyaki Raghunath      It is not only in Delhi that transshipment is taking place. At Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL), about one per cent of the total cargo volume is airside transshipment, including domestic-domestic (D-D), international-domestic (I-D), and domestic-international (D-I); (I-I is nil). “On the landside, transshipment through bonded trucking accounts for five per cent of BIAL’s international cargo volumes,” according to Satyaki Raghunath, (left) Chief Strategy & Development Officer, BIAL.
     In the long-term, Raghunath said, the aim was to have transshipment comprising between 15-18 per cent of our total cargo volumes.
     However, industry stalwarts believe that while the first steps have been taken to establish India as a global air transshipment hub, it is still a work in progress. The country is yet to set up ‘free zones’ near international airports on the lines of the Dubai Airport Free Zone at Dubai and similar zones in Hong Kong that will make transshipment easier. Air cargo stakeholders believe that the government should come up with policies like tax exemptions, bring in connectivity with ports for sea shipments and lastly enhance infrastructure and improve throughput, to enable the country’s major airports become global hubs if the goal of handling 10 mn tonnes of air cargo a year has to be achieved by 2027.
     Transshipment cargo hubs are needed not merely due to the fact that India continues to move up among the world economies but also because of its important role among Asia-Pacific’s major economic growth engines.
     Though air cargo in India has been going through a downturn – largely due to exports and imports coming down over the last few months, the environment seems to be just right for the blossoming of air cargo. In the last one year, for example, the country has seen the emergence of new dedicated air cargo players: there are five dedicated freighter operators in the country, according to the Suvendu ChoudhuryIndian Directorate General of Civil Aviation. The resurrection of the Bengaluru-based Quikjet (it had started operations in 2007, stopped in 2012 and began again in January 2023) in fact, speaks highly of the right atmosphere. Operators like FedEx have been witnessing more intra-regional trade -- intra-Asian exports account for 60% of regional exports, trailing only intra-EU exports (68%), as regional blocs go -- according to Suvendu Choudhury, (right) Managing Director, International Operations, FedEx Exp. For its part, aircraft manufacturers like Airbus are forecasting a strong growth for the Indian air cargo market: expecting to reach around 50 aircraft by 2040 from the 28 freighters today.
     PWC in a March 2022 paper entitled, India: Emergence of a global leader in aviation, advocated simplification in the transshipment process to make major Indian airports transshipment hubs. The paper also pointed out that an integrated approach to promote air cargo movement was need. Giving the examples of some of the major special economic zones (SEZs) such as Incheon Free Zone, Shanghai FTZ, JAFZA, it said these were successful because of their proximity to gateways such as airports and ports.
     “India also needs to promote integrated industrial and infrastructure development. For example, the airport land bank may be utilized to establish SEZ/assembly units, etc. This development of SEZ at the existing gateway airports may require a revision of the Special Economic Zones Rules, which defines minimum land area requirements for the establishment of SEZs. Incentivizing industries to set up units on the airport land may support industrial growth as well as cargo movement.”
Tirthankar Ghosh

FlyingTalkers podcast



First Half Post Covid Challenging

The Beatles At JFK     The greatest advocate for air cargo in the history of The Port Authority of New York New Jersey (PANY & NJ) named Jim Larsen lives today in Lakehurst, New Jersey, the the scene of the Airship Hindenburg crash on May 6, 1937.
     Jim, you should know, (click here to read about it) was a hero of September 11, 2001 when as Cargo Marketing Director for the Bi state agency, he walked himself and co-workers including some that needed help, off of the 65th floor and all the way to ground level and out of the doomed Number One World Trade Center.
     Jim was a key operations guy at Seaboard World Airways, the legendary all-cargo airline based at Idlewild, later JFK Airport; it was the airline that brought forward the likes of Bill Boesch, John Mahoney, Guenter Rohrmann, Dick Jackson, Al Levinson, Peter Hansen, Jos van der Woensel, Frank Volavsek (who planted a California Redwood in the Cargo Area at Schiphol that is still growing there today) and others. Jim ran with giants of the air cargo form.
     For the past year since his wife Annette died, Jim has been travelling, but each and every time we hear from him comes a wonderful “gee whiz” take on life, both inspiring and wonderful every time, despite the adversities of age.
Jim Larsen      Recently Jim wrote us about looking at my 1981 book on the history of John F. Kennedy International Airport and the Day the Beatles came to New York aboard a Pan American World Airways B707 jet February 7, 1964.
     We used a picture of the Beatles with Jim Larsen, but not knowing he was there we cropped him out.
     Jim picks up the story from there.
     “In 1964 I was working as a baggage handler for Eastern Airlines at JFK.
     “Our international flights, one from Bermuda and one from Mexico City were required to clear Customs at the International Arrivals Building instead of at our usual terminal.
     “So we would take a string of baggage carts, passenger stairs, belt loader and a mobile power unit down to the IAB to meet the flights.
     “We would wait for maintenance to arrive to taxi the aircraft to our terminal. That day, while we were waiting, a guy came by and told us the Beatles were arriving on the next gate. I wasn’t a Beatles fan but I knew there would be plenty of girls there, so off I went.
     “That's why, in the picture I’m looking up at the observation deck and not at the Beatles.
     “Last year I happened to tell my niece about that day and she asked if I took any pictures, which I told her I didn’t.
     “Later she sent me this picture which she had found on the internet."

     We like and admire Jim Larsen because he is a positive spirit that counts his blessings instead of sheep.
     His mock serious comment to me that if the picture we ran in the book had included him, he might have launched another career, was more tongue in cheek than anything else!
     Jim loves aviation and especially air cargo.
     That he was in this most famous picture, and then nearly 50 years later a family member discovered it, (nice hair too) to our mind is only right, the way it ought to be.
     Thanks, Jim.

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Thanks Ladies
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