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2024 FIATA HQ Meeting: Uniting for Resilience

FIATA the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations closed its 2024 FIATA HQ Meeting yesterday, after 4 intensive days of interactive discussions and workshops. This successful event brought together over 250 participants from some 60 territories worldwide, embodying the theme “Uniting for Resilience”.

The FIATA HQ Meeting 2024 drew to a successful close this week (23-26 April 2024), in Geneva, Switzerland, the heart of the international community. This annual landmark event brought together industry leaders, subject matter experts and practitioners from the freight forwarding and logistics community around the world to address pressing industry challenges and opportunities, with a focus on building resilience to volatile externalities. 

Taking place in the wake of significant supply chain uncertainty and shocks, FIATA President Mr Turgut Erkeskin, stressed: “This unpredictable environment led to the restructuring of global supply chains with a more protectionist approach, giving rise to nearshoring and allied shoring policies and changing the course of globalisation”. The FIATA President highlighted that the “global environment is expected to remain volatile and unstable”, a new normal in which freight forwarders and other supply chain actors will operate.

Amid supply chain uncertainty, the focus was on finding agile, practical and actionable solutions for freight forwarders to reinforce their role in bringing global trade connectivity in a turbulent and rapidly evolving marketplace. 45 key industry topics were discussed, in dedicated breakout sessions within over 15 highly rated workshop sessions. With subject matter experts coming from various organisations in Geneva and afar, the 2024 FIATA HQ Meeting showcased FIATA’s strong collaboration with international organisations involved in trade policy, transportation modes, sustainability, and technology. 

Taking stock of the special opening keynote fireside chat with the Director General of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Mr Willie Walsh, the FIATA President underlined the importance of cooperation amongst supply chain stakeholders, given their symbiotic relationship: “We are realigning relationships with key organisations, including IATA, to provide a level playing field and defend fair business practices.” 

Referring to the ongoing work between IATA and FIATA to modernise the IATA Cargo Agency Programme as discussed during the fireside chat with Mr Walsh, the FIATA President noted: “The goal is to develop a single Global Air Cargo Programme that redefines the relationship between airlines and forwarders, reflecting the commercial realities of today and allowing collaborative market evolution. We believe that having a uniform global programme, jointly administered by IATA and FIATA with common global standards, would strengthen the ease of doing business within the industry through harmonised rules and requirements, whilst addressing other important topics such as integrated services, digitalisation, safety, and security concerns”.

Resilience and collaboration were key themes. In today’s volatile environment, freight forwarders play an important role in providing value-added services to their customers to facilitate supply chain fluidity and connectivity. The crucial opportunities brought by technology were underlined, in line with FIATA’s efforts to provide digital industry solutions to facilitate trade, such as the Digital FIATA Multimodal Transport Bill of Lading (eFBL) and its secured industry data standard, Freight Pay, and many more.
The importance of training and empowering the next generation of industry leaders was identified as key for the future resilience of the industry. The FIATA HQ Meeting 2024 Closing Ceremony also played host to the award ceremony of the Global Supply Chain Classroom (GSCC) Global Sustainability Supply Chain Student Competition, pursuant to the visionary Memorandum of Understanding concluded between FIATA and GSCC earlier this year. The competition brings together university students to address supply chain challenges, actively involving young talents and developing sustainable solutions to shape the industry’s future. FIATA warmly congratulates the winning teams from the Bejing Institute of Technology (Gold winning team), the Tsinghua University (Bronze winning team), and the University of Rhode Island and Beijing Wuzi University (paired winning team).

FIATA will continue to pursue excellence in logistics, by promoting training and professional development, fostering collaboration amongst stakeholders of the supply chain, whilst representing the global voice of logistics through its extensive network. Leveraging the strength of FIATA’s global membership, FIATA is working hard to improve policies, make the markets more accessible, profitable and efficient, adding value to the supply chain, and supporting industry advancement.

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