This year’s World Cargo Symposium (WCS) opened today (September 27) in London, and will focus on strengthening air cargo’s post-pandemic prospects.
The event is run by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the air industry trade association that supports aviation with global standards for safety, security, efficiency and sustainability.
In 2021, air cargo revenues reached a record US$204bn, more than double the figure for 2019. It accounted for around 40% of total airline revenues in 2021.
This year demand is expected to exceed pre-pandemic levels by 13%, and generate $169bn in revenue.
But IATA says the business environment is “challenging”, with inflation in June topping 10.3% in countries belonging to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
IATA also points out that the World Bank expects energy prices to soar by 50% compared with 2021.
An IATA spokesperson said: “Plus global growth is slowing. There is no way to sugarcoat the bitter economic and political realities we face. But the desire to move goods is strong, and air cargo is resilient in a crisis. Our businesses were challenged and tested during the pandemic and we emerged stronger.
“Covid-19 tested the resilience of the air cargo business but despite challenging conditions, air cargo delivered critical medical supplies and vaccines across the globe and kept international supply chains open.”
WCS theme: how to build air cargo resilience
IATA says that the challenge now facing the industry is to “retain the momentum achieved, even as economic and geopolitical uncertainty grows”. It says this is the theme of this year’s WCS event.
Under the banner of “Maintaining momentum, building resilience” the event is focusing on how the industry can capitalise on resilience to build a more sustainable future.
Identifying new ways to attract and retain talent is a focus of many of the sessions. The symposium will also feature keynotes from:
- IATA Chief Economist, Marie Owens Thomsen, who will be discussing economic and market insights
- Marco Bloemen, Managing Director of Seabury Cargo
- David Shepherd, MD of IAG Cargo
The event will also see workshops, including one of improving the efficiency of billing settlements between airlines and freight forwarders using the CASS (Cargo Accounts Settlement System).
There will also be a a forum for air cargo executives to network and share insights on career development, which will be held as a fringe event.