Looking back on FIATA's eventful meetings

The last quarter of the year kicked off with numerous meetings at FIATA. All four regions gathered virtually in October to discuss pressing matters to freight forwarders. The Airfreight Institute and the Multimodal Transport Institute also met virtually for two of landmark meetings, in place of their usual gatherings at the FIATA World Congress given the current COVID-19 situation, providing the opportunity to update on progress made and to discuss key topics of interest to the industry.

 

All eyes on Brexit

FIATA’s Region Europe met early October to discuss Brexit, which is already having serious impacts on trade and causing disruptions for freight forwarders.

Trade and transport in Asia-Pacific

Region Asia-Pacific held a meeting mid-October where they welcomed special speaker Azhar Jaimurzina from UNESCAP, who covered the impact of COVID-19 on trade and transport connectivity in the region. UNESCAP identified several needs from professionals to address this issue, including the acceleration of digitalization and smart connectivity along the intermodal regional network.

Other topics presented were the impact on airfreight in Australia and the global impact of the FMC Final Rule on Demurrage and Detention on FIATA members.

Focus on the Abraham Accords Peace Treaty

FIATA’s Region Africa and Middle East met late October where they had a presentation on the Abraham Accords Peace Treaty, breaking new grounds for Israel-UAE trade relationships. This was presented by FIATA representatives of both countries. A brief presentation was also given on the AFTA, a single African Market of 55 countries, covering trade in goods and services. If implemented, the AFTA would pull 30 million people out of extreme poverty and improve the lives of 68 million living on less than US$ 5 per day – according to the World Bank.

Demurrage and abandoned goods in the Americas

Meanwhile, in Region Americas, members discussed the issue of demurrage and abandoned goods, as well as conversed disruptions within the cargo markets and new directions within IATA and their cargo programme.

Vaccine distribution and the supply chain

With over 60 participants in attendance, the Airfreight Institute (AFI) meeting held on 27 October was the occasion for the FIATA Director General, Dr Stéphane Graber, to provide an update on the FIATA reset programme and outline the direction of the organization.

In addition, FIATA was pleased to welcome a special guest speaker, Professor Wouter Dewulf of the University of Antwerp, to discuss COVID-19 vaccine distribution and the implications for the supply chain. Which vaccines are the top contenders? Where are production locations? And will a self-sufficiency scenario be likely? These were just some of the important questions addressed in this insightful and interactive session.

A busy year for multimodal working groups

The Multimodal Institute (MTI) held its meeting on 5 November, marking the occasion to reunite over 50 participants, including all its working groups (rail, road, sustainable logistics and sea transport) which were able to update on the progress made. It has certainly been a busy year at MTI, key examples being the recent launch of the FIATA toolkit on the FMC Final Rule on Demurrage and Detention, reviews of container surcharges and other topics impacting a level playing field, the strengthening of FIATA documents and their digitalization, and the recent virtual relaunch of Working Groups Road and Rail.

Last but not least, it was the opportunity to officially welcome Working Group Sustainable Logistics into the MTI family, with its newly defined vision and objectives.

Defining objectives for sustainable logistics

The Working Group Sustainable Logistics, which recently joined the Multimodal Transport Institute (MTI), held its second online meeting this year where they adopted their newly defined vision and mission. This develops a common framework and sets the basis for the working group's future work.

Their mission aims at expanding the global awareness of the logistics industry in sustainability and leading new initiatives through the promotion of best practices and common values. The objectives address sustainability through its contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals, adopting a cross-disciplinary approach with participation in the other working groups of MTI which cover different modes of transport. Thus, the approach includes the cross-sectional nature of logistics and sustainability. 

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