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On 4-6 May, FIATA participated in the 231st/232nd session of the Permanent Technical Committee held by the World Customs Organization (WCO), where it addressed many items crucial to the economic recovery from COVID-19 and to meet the new challenges stemming from the e-commerce boom. FIATA provided statements on several items of particular importance for the freight forwarding industry.
FIATA welcomed the work undertaken by the WCO on disaster management and supply chain continuity, while underlining the need for customs authorities to harness the lessons learnt from the pandemic and ensure that ongoing digitalization processes are maintained in the interest of the economic recovery. FIATA commented on the importance to incorporate advanced electronic information in accordance with the SAFE and E-Commerce frameworks and to continue to engage with all actors within the supply chain, in particular the private sector. These comments were also supported by several private sector organizations.
FIATA also referred to its proposals submitted to the WCO in the framework of the E-Commerce Package Annual review, following detailed consultation amongst its members, which pointed to a need to adopt appropriate and pragmatic procedures without over-burdening supply chain stakeholders. FIATA welcomed the WCO Secretariat Note on expanding the concept of Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) to cross-border e-commerce and the option to provide for online authorization and validation procedures. It nonetheless highlighted the need to ensure that those procedures remain proportionate to the scope of the AEO programme and that particular care should be taken to ensure that AEO requirements are accessible to companies of all sizes and in line with the aims of the SAFE Framework.
Finally, FIATA welcomed the work undertaken by the WCO to streamline railway customs procedures and underlined the importance of adopting digital methods, as well as ensuring appropriate coordination with all modes of transport. Many of these themes will be addressed in the WCO Periodic Review of the E-Commerce Package, and FIATA continues to work on developing its proposals and input through its Customs Affairs Institute. FIATA applauds the efforts of the WCO to engage the private sector in its work and remains committed to leveraging the expertise of its members in the interests of facilitating the movement of international trade.
The airfreight industry was one of the worst-hit by COVID-19, grappling severe capacity limitations and congested airport terminals, as belly capacities virtually disappeared overnight and many airlines fought for their very survival. As the global voice of freight logistics, airfreight has been a key priority for the FIATA Presidency, noting the crucial and irreplaceable role it plays in the transport of goods. Since the onset of the pandemic, the Presidency has consistently dedicated significant time to address airfreight issues in each of its exchanges in 2020 and 2021, and met several times with the Chair of the Airfreight Institute (AFI) to listen to the valuable expertise of its delegates. FIATA also developed many resources to support the airfreight industry, in collaboration with the AFI Chair, many of which can be found on the dedicated section of the FIATA website.
FIATA is committed to working closely with international partners, harnessing the expertise of its AFI delegates, for the benefit of the global freight forwarding industry. The Presidency recognizes the staff changes that have taken place at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in recent months, including the arrival of its new Director General Willy Walsh, who was officially welcomed by the FIATA President. The Presidency looks forward to meeting him and the IATA leadership to work towards a strengthened cooperation to support freight forwarders around the world to recover from the pandemic and address existing issues in the airfreight sector.
In addition, the upcoming launch of new AFI task forces to address specific priorities in the airfreight industry are expected to allow for enhanced outputs and guidance out of the pandemic. FIATA encourages all Association Members to nominate delegates to AFI, if they have not already done so, to ensure their territory is well represented and actively participate in the AFI task forces. As COVID-19 has demonstrated, unity and collaboration across the global industry is crucial to addressing the challenges of today, to bring the industry on the path to much-needed economic recovery.
FLI Task Forces continue to identify priorities in training and education
The first round of Task Force meetings of the FIATA Logistics Institute (FLI) was successfully completed last week, with the first meetings of Task Force 1 (TF1) and Task Force 3 (TF3) taking place on 5 May and 11 May, respectively. The TF1 meeting marked the opening of the current validation session of the Association Members’ training programmes, while TF3 delegates discussed possible initiatives to promote the FIATA Diploma to youth and to recognize the role of women in logistics. FLI task forces are now all set to move forward with diverse projects, which will create value for members while ensuring that FIATA remains at the forefront of freight forwarding education.
Register for a virtual side-event to combat illicit wildlife trafficking
FIATA, in collaboration with the Container Control Programme (CCP)/ Law Enforcement Assistance Programme (LEAP) from UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime), EIA (Environmental Investigation Agency), TRAFFIC, United for Wildlife, and WWF (World Wildlife Fund for Nature), are co-organizing a virtual side-event on private sector cooperation to combat illicit wildlife and timber trafficking in containerized supply chains. The event, taking place on Friday, 21 May at 13:10 CEST in the framework of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPJ), will provide an outlook for a two-day global shipping roundtable to take place in the end of June. FIATA is pleased to be part of this initiative, which will help promote awareness and capacity-building in view of keeping the supply chain free of illegal trade.
In this view, FIATA had already teamed up with TRAFFIC in 2019 to deliver the course ‘Prevention of Wildlife Trafficking’ available in seven languages.