The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that the seventh World Cargo Symposium (WCS) would be held in Doha, Qatar, from 12-14 March 2013. The event, which will explore the theme of Action for Sustainability, will be hosted by Qatar Airways, a leading carrier in the Gulf region.
“I am delighted that Qatar Airways have offered to host the World Cargo Symposium. The aviation industry continues through challenging times. Our discussions will focus on improving the sustainability of air cargo through an agenda for improving safety, security, efficiency and quality. These are big issues. And we can only tackle them by building consensus across the complex air cargo value chain,” said Des Vertannes, IATA Global Head of Cargo.
Around 1,000 air cargo decision-makers are expected to converge on Doha for the WCS. It is a unique event that brings together the entire air cargo value chain into one venue to foster cooperation and build consensus. Key decisions on global cargo issues are made at the IATA cargo committee, in the plenary sessions and workshops, through the Global Air Cargo Advisory Group (GACAG) and the Cargo Executive Summit.
Among the major issues expected to top the agenda are:
Increased efficiency. With the potential to cut transportation times by up to 24 hours, the advantages of moving to a paperless cargo system are significant. IATA is progressing towards its target of 100% e-Air Waybill utilization by the end of 2014. The industry vision for 100% implementation of the complete e-freight suite will require close cooperation and the spread of best practice across the entire cargo supply chain. Many governments around the world also need to pass the necessary legislation to allow e-freight to proceed.
Security. Security issues for cargo are high on the agenda following the printer cartridge bomb plot in October 2010. The provision of Advanced Electronic Information to customs agencies requires close coordination and global harmonization. And the roll-out of Secure Freight continues. Secure Freight is a program which ensures cargo is protected from the start of the shipping chain, raising security levels and preventing bottlenecks at airports.
“All eyes are on the Middle East. The region’s double-digit expansion in cargo markets over recent years has seen it grow to now account for over 11% of air freight. Holding the event in Qatar will shine a spotlight on the economic benefits that flow from an enlightened government supporting growth with low taxes, efficient regulation and infrastructure to accommodate growth,” said Vertannes.
The last WCS took place in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia with almost 1000 attendees, under the banner of Partnership at Work. Major outcomes included the initial scorecard of GACAG’s key priorities as the collective voice for the industry, the delivery of the Cargo 2000 Master Operating Plan as an open-source quality benchmark, and a proposal for a data exchange program for members to record dangerous goods incidents.