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From Here and Now, Think Global: FIATA World Congress Taipei 2015

ruth blog 1Toronto, Ont September 21, 2015         From the here of Taipei and the now of the September 2015 FIATA World Congress, it was an easy step to think global.  Some 1000 participants from 67 countries came together last week for informed presentations, animated discussions and engaged networking events. Ours is a global industry where successful players are aware of emerging trends and cognizant of changing standards, pending regulations and an ever-changing playing field.  The annual FIATA World Congress creates the perfect opportunity to get up to speed on global freight logistics issues.

Opening ceremony keynote speakers included Mr. Shih-Chao Cho, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Taiwan; Mr. Bronson Hsieh, Second Vice Group Chairman, Evergreen Group Director, TT Club Board; Mr. Edward Lin, Chief Executive Officer, Dimerco Express Group; Mr. Massimo Geloso Trade Policy Analyst, OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development)These thought leaders shared their success stories and their thoughts for the future on global issues from their unique perspectives. 

Mr. Kaya Karakaya of Schenker of Canada was on the main stage to receive his award as the America’s Region Young Freight Forwarder of the Year (YIFFY) winner.  FIATA celebrates the achievements of young freight forwarders working for companies in its ranks at its annual congress every year.  This year at the Taipei Congress participants also applauded the overall winner of the Young Freight Forwarder of the Year (YIFFY) Award, Daniella Smal of Zambia.  Insurance provider to the international freight transport industry, TT Club has sponsored this award for each of its seventeen years and Claims Manager Mike Yarwood was on hand to announce the winner and present the award with a brief speech, evocative of the important achievements in training made by FIATA and its members.

Airfreight Institute (AFI)

Mr. William Gottlieb (Canada) spoke about the challenges of the revised agency agreement Cargo Agency Modernization Program (CAMP), which has absorbed FIATA and IATA for the past three years.  Independent legal reviews of the proposed program have recently been received by FIATA and there is cautious optimism that the revisions will move forward soon.   Keynote speaker Mr. Glynn Hughes, head of cargo for IATA, spoke passionately about the need to change the current agency structure and the need to develop a more partnering relationship between freight forwarder and airline.    Mr. Hughes also addressed the need to promote eAWB and IATA is considering an eAWB solution as outlined in Congress coverage by The Loadstar.

Concerns are growing within the air cargo industry over the transport of lithium batteries. In his comments, Mr. Hughes said the industry needed to be increasingly aware of some shippers trying to circumvent regulations and deliberately shipping dangerous cargo. “As an industry we have to be vigilant. We have to be thinking about how we can spot these shipments and prevent them, because in some cases there is willful neglect in terms of the resolutions, the regulations and the shipping requirements of ICAO”.

CIFFA has recently made its on-line dangerous goods handling  training  on lithium batteries available to all FIATA members. 

FIATA Provides SOLAS Container Weight Verification Toolkit

At the FIATA Multimodal Transport Institute, Chairman Mr. Robert Keen (UK) announced to delegates an initiative to provide all FIATA Members with a comprehensive guide to the changes due in July 2016 when the verification of container weights becomes mandatory.  The changes to the SOLAS Convention (Safety of Life at Sea) were agreed at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 2014 and the implications have been considered in detail by the FIATA Working Group Sea at their regular meetings.

The toolkit is a guidance document covering the background to the changes and an overview of the new legislative requirements. There is a detailed analysis of various contractual scenarios when the forwarder transacts with shipping lines or with other parties and it concludes with a “next steps” section giving helpful advice to FIATA Members in dealing with stakeholders in their own countries. [note: CIFFA is engaged in talks with other industry representatives and Transport Canada on the implementation of the new requirements in Canada.] 

FIATA and Mercury Gate sign MOU to Provide IT Solutions for Freight Forwarders

ruth blog 2Of interest to many CIFFA members, is the new agreement between FIATA and Mercury Gate for provision of an extremely well-priced operating system for freight forwarders. As the day settled and the last meeting neared, the audience remained steady in their seats waiting to hear details of this highly anticipated Memorandum of Understanding for which they had heard whispers all week. Daniel Vertachnik, Mercury Gate’s Chief Commercial Officer advised We have really never offered such a deal like this and it’s exclusive to FIATA Members”. The operating system provided by Mercury Gate comes with a list of key functions and features at an affordable price to enhance efficiency in FIATA members’ day to day operations.  More on this as details become available. 


Last, but certainly not least were the hotly contested elections to the FIATA Presidency and Extended Board, held at the annual general meeting of the membership on the last day of the congress.   Canada’s Mr. Marc Bibeau was elected as one of twelve Vice Presidents and Mr. Huxiang Zhao, from China became the new President of FIATA. Canadians at the annual general meeting Mr. Bibeau, Mr. William Gottlieb, Mr. Chris Gillespie and Ms. Ruth Snowden offered Mr. Huxiang Zhao their congratulations.

For some sense of the scale and scope of the 2015 World Congress, check out the photo blog at The Loadstar.

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