2nd Day of the IATA World Cargo Symposium Recap

Robert Tungatt

The 2nd day of the 6th IATA World Cargo Symposium was a prompt start and straight into the speciality industry tracks which are on a broad range of industry related areas, listed below.

Whilst all are important certain sessions within the tracks have significant importance and relevance for Marken and our clients, certain topics within the tracks were of significant interest.
IATA has gone for a different approach this year with delegates following the theme across several industry tracks. IATA may want to rethink that for next year as moving delegates rather than tracks was somewhat confusing. However on the upside it allowed for a mix and match approach and allowed me to cover the sessions of most interest.

The early Security sessions had a number of areas which need to be considered going forward. The US and EU Security regulators are increasingly dominating the world regulatory thought process with the US mandate on screening of US inbound cargo is impacting on sovereign nations security programs. Many of them are starting to introduce multilayered security and screening at a piece level into ther regulations. Australia as an example will introduce legislation from 1st July 2014 to this affect with other nations expected to follow suit.

In Europe, we are starting to see duplicate screening for shipments going to the US. This is due to difference in technology recognition and procedures. It seems the US and EU regulators are divided by a common language, that being “security”. IATA has done a fantastic job this year in getting the regulators to this event and this should be encourage more as communication and dialogue are vital to delivering smart legislation. As IATA has made clear in relation to the EU Emission Trading Scheme when regulators regulate without consultation, they introduce legislation that is bad for the industry. The regulators have a difficult job and the speed of innovation in technology is making it that much harder as technology is much easier to develop than regulations and implementing new screening technologies as they develop into legislation is a lengthy process.

RFID and cellular tracking were a big theme of today’s events and as one of the presenter’s remarked it is a fare reflection that RFID had not been a hot topic in recent IATA events but this year it was back with a vengeance. SO RFID tracking via simple label tag coupled with a GPS or GPRS network was an interesting presentation along with another based on a cellular device and network which can deliver very advanced data relating to temperature, humidity, shock etc for high value / theft attractive consignments. Airlines also getting in on the technology innovations with one major carrier proud to show off their Apps based on IoS operating system which allows data transfer and communication on all i-devices.

With the change in event style this year I was fortunate enough to be exposed to a session on Unit Load Devices or ULD’s. Firstly, this followed a very detailed presentation by the Director of Pharmaceutical Services for the Malaysian Ministry of Health. Giving insight into the great work they are doing to revise their old regulations to amalgamate & strengthen various old practices to improve measures against counterfeiting / adulteration and usage of unregulated products in Malaysia and to toughen the punishment for offenders to provide a strong deterrent. This work is being undertaken to help facilitate the introduction of the single market, the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) in 2015

Now back to ULD’s or Unit Load Devices. Previously not a topic I thought of attending. However an excellent presentation relating to the ULD Regulations being written by IATA presently opened my eyes to the importance of these humble unit and the issues they create. With an average life span of seven years these units cost the airline industry $150 – 200 million USD per annum on repairs and replacement. Once secured into the subframe of the aircraft they become part of the sub-frame and therefore vital to be 100% operational, 100% of the time whilst in the aircraft. If not they can lead to operational inefficiencies, grounding of aircraft due to damage or in an extreme case- aircraft failure. So IATA is introducing regulations covering all aspects of the requirements of ULD’s covering their operation, design, repair, training etc. In the future, users of ULD’s will need to undergo detailed training on loading and care of these units. These are important as they are Active Containers used for temperature control for the transport of pharmaceutical/healthcare products. These are ULD’s except with a much higher cost and risk potential due to the nature of unit and what it is protecting. In addition to knowing how to set and control the temperature functions, shippers and forwarders will need to be compliant with the ULD regulations.

Finally, as mentioned earlier IATA are reaching out to the regulators and engaging with them to help shape the future of the aviation industry. Whilst always having lobbied regulators, IATA have committed to a Global Advocacy Program to better promote the industry and raise awareness of the passenger and cargo merits of aviation. The aviation industry has a poor image in the public eye so winning friends and influencing people is acknowledged by IATA as a difficult job. However, they have laid out a clear vision and strategy to proactively engage with regulators to help deliver better regulation and reduce beaurocracy in getting solutions delivered whilst promoting the benefits of aviation. 35% of world trade by value is delivered by air so the stakes are high but IATA is resolute in promoting the good the industry brings.

IATA has advised delegates leaving the event to look at the imagery in the tunnel to the terminal when travelling home after the event. Imagery depicting all the goods and services we take for granted that would be impacted without the aviation industry and there slogan “air cargo Makes it Happen”. I have heard that somewhere else!