FIATA joining Discussion on Issues during UNCTAD’s E-Commerce Week in Geneva

Zurich, April 2018: FIATA attended the fourth edition of UNCTAD E-Commerce Week from 16th to 20th April 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland under the theme “Development Dimensions of Digital Platforms”. This E-Commerce Week discussed the benefits and challenges of digital platforms and measures to support emerging countries to development of e-commerce.

Emerging of digital platforms is currently one of the primary game-changers of the global business landscape. People are often surprised how digital pioneers such Amazon, Alibaba and Uber have quickly changed the business model in certain sectors and therefore transformed the consuming habit. Despite the challenges for freight forwarding and logistics industry to adapt to such transformation, it is the firm belief of FIATA that great opportunities exist for those who are able to adjust their business models, and, most importantly, always provide the best solutions to address the logistics needs of digital shoppers.

Besides recognizing the benefits of e-commerce for the global economy, in particularleast developing countries (LDCs) and small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs), this E-Commerce Week further debated on potential challenges it might bring. For instance, will global e-commerce giants hinder the development of local start-ups, how customer’s rights especially personal datashould be protected and how global legislators should regulate e-commerce.

The debate will continue but some developments deserve particular attention. Reacting to needs for protection of privacy, the EU formulated General Data Protection Regulation which will come into force on 25th May 2018, applying to all institutions that process personal data of EU citizens. During the 2018 FIATA HQ Session at the Advisory Body Safety and Security meeting, FIATA presented this new regulation to members and called for global forwarders to study intensely the new regulation, as non-compliance would result in fines up to 4% of annual global turnover or €20 Million.

FIATA also noted the growing attention on B2B e-commerce, the volume of which is estimated to be10 times that of B2C e-commerce. B2B platforms are not as developed and well noted as B2C platforms, a major reason of which can be the difficulty in ensuring consistent service quality. This is a trend worth mentioning especially to forwarders and logistics service providers, as development of such platforms will further reshape the role of our industry and strategy of FIATA members.

Many participants at E-Commerce Week pointed out that, transportation is still a major bottleneck for LDCs and SMEs when engaging in e-commerce transactions. As emphasized in the FIATA position paper on e-commerce, implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement will greatly reduce transportation cost and boost e-commerce growth. FIATA will continue to work with international and regional organizations as well as the freight forwarding community to call for trade facilitation.


Media Contacts

Hans Guenther Kersten
Director General
E: kersten(at)


The International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) was founded in Vienna, Austria on 31 May 1926. It is a non-governmental organisation that today represents an industry covering approximately 40,000 forwarding and logistics firms, employing around 10 million people in some 160 countries. FIATA has consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) as well as many other UN related bodies such as the World Bank. It is recognised as representing the freight forwarding industry by many other governmental organisations, governmental authorities, private international organisations in the field of transport and logistics, such as the European Commission (through CLECAT), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Air
Transport Association (IATA), the International Union of Railways (UIC), the International Road Transport Union (IRU), the World Customs Organization (WCO), and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Learn more at


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