IATA outlines priorities to secure air cargo traffic
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has identified four priorities to make air cargo more secure. Speaking at the Secure Freight Forum, IATA’s Director General and CEO Tony Tyler urged stakeholders to move forward on the implementation of the Secure Freight principles, a scheme initiated by IATA to promote global security standards in order to facilitate safe, secure and efficient operations of air cargo.
“The stakes are high. If regulators and governments lose confidence in the security of air freight, then bureaucracy will increase and ultimately some items may not even be viable to be air freighted. Commerce as we know it would look very different,” said Tyler.
Speaking at the Secure Freight Forum held at IATA’s offices in Geneva, Tyler noted that nearly 50 million tonnes of cargo are transported by air each year. This translates to $5.3 trillion of business, or around 35% of the value of goods traded internationally.
“Governments and industry share the goal of keeping air cargo secure. That is the common ground for closer cooperation, harmonization of regulations, global capacity building and the long-term commitment that is needed,” said Tyler.
Tyler called for:
- Closer cooperation between all stakeholders: A team effort engaging the entire air cargo supply chain and governments is necessary to enhance and deploy global standards for security.
- Harmonization and convergence of regulations: The International Civil Aviation Organization should be the focal point for this work, which could embrace a roadmap for states to obtain mutual recognition of cargo security regimes.
- Global capacity building: Mutual support among governments will strengthen the security network. There are already good examples of this, such as Canada assisting Mexico with security programs for cargo and passenger traffic
- Long-term commitment: Harmonization and recognition of air cargo security requires a continued commitment from all parties over the long-term.
These priorities converge in the Secure Freight principles. Eight pilot schemes around the world, based in Malaysia, Kenya, Mexico, Chile, Egypt, UAE, Jordan, and Bahrain, have demonstrated that the tried and tested Secure Freight standards offer states a robust security regime as well as significant economic benefits. A case study of the Secure Freight pilot in Malaysia shows that the benefits anticipated from full national implementation of Secure Freight are estimated to be $350-600 million annually.
DHL Claim Multi-Sector Collaboration Key to Fighting COVID
Since January, global logistics leader DHL has distributed more than 200 million doses of the COVID vaccine to 120+ countries around the globe. While the US and UK recently rolled out immunisation plans to most citizens, countries with less developed infrastructure still desperately need more doses. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which currently has one of the highest per-capita immunisation rates, the government set up storage facilities to cover domestic and international demand. But storage, as we’ve learned, is little help if you can’t transport the goods.
This is where logistics leaders such as DHL make their impact. The company built over 50 new partnerships, bilateral and multilateral, to collaborate with pharmaceutical and private sector firms. With more than 350 DHL centres pressed into service, the group operated 9,000+ flights to ship the vaccine where it needed to go.
With new pandemic knowledge, DHL just released its “Revisiting Pandemic Resilience” white paper, which examined the role of logistics and supply chain companies in handling COVID-19. As Thomas Ellman, Head of Clinical Trials Logistics at DHL, said: “The past one year has highlighted the importance of logistics and supply chain management to manage the pandemic, ensure business continuity and protect public health. It has also shown us that together we are stronger”.
Multisector partnerships, DHL said, enabled rapid, effective vaccine distribution. While international scientists developed a vaccine in record time—five times faster than any other vaccine in history—manufacturers ramped up production and logistics teams rolled out distribution three times faster than expected. When commercial routes faced backups, logistics operators worked with military officers to transport vaccines via helicopters and boats.
In the UAE, the public-private HOPE Consortium distributed billions of COVID-19 doses to its civilians as well as other countries in need by partnering with commercial organisations such as DHL. For the first time, apropo for an unprecedented pandemic, logistics companies made strong connections with public health and government.
“While the race against the virus continues, leveraging the power of such collaborations and data analytics will be key”, said Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL and Head of DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation. “We need to remain prepared for high patient and vaccine volumes, maintain logistics infrastructure and capacity, while planning for seasonal fluctuations by providing a stable and well-equipped platform for the years to come”.
How Do We Sustain Immunisation?
By the end of 2021, experts estimate that we need approximately 10 billion doses of vaccines—many of which will be shipped to areas of the world, such as India, South Africa, and Brazil, that lack significant infrastructure. This is perhaps the greatest divide between countries that have rolled out successful immunisation programmes and those that have not. As Busch noted, “the UAE’s significant investments in creating robust air, sea, and land infrastructure facilitated logistics and vaccine distribution, helping us keep supply chains resilient”.
Neither is the novel coronavirus a one-time affair. If predictions hold, COVID will be similar to seasonal colds or the flu: here to stay. When fall comes around each year, governments will need to vaccinate the world as quickly as possible to ensure long-term immunisation against the virus. This time, logistics companies must be better prepared.
Yet global immunisation, year after year, is no small order. To keep reinfection rates low and slow the spread of COVID, governments will likely need 7-9 billion annual doses of the vaccine to meet that mark. And if DHL’s white paper is any judge of success, multi-sector supply chain partnerships will set the gold standard.