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IATA’s WCS focuses on driving Sustainable & inclusive Growth

Air cargo is an unsung hero of the global economy. In normal times, it delivers some 35% of the value of goods traded across borders. In the pandemic, air cargo brought medical supplies and vaccines to where they were needed. And today it is providing a vital transport alternative for some products as Red Sea shipping lanes face geopolitical uncertainty. In 2023 air cargo closed the year at near pre-pandemic performance levels.

In this context, global air cargo leaders are set to convene in Hong Kong (SAR), China, from March 12 to 14, for the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) World Cargo Symposium (WCS). Ensuring the future reliability and growth of this critical sector will be top of mind with an agenda focused on sustainability, digitalization, safety and security.

WCS will feature a diverse lineup of speakers, showcasing the breadth of expertise needed to address these challenges. Brendan Sullivan, IATA’s Global Head of Cargo, will join forces with industry leaders such as Marie Owens Thomsen, IATA’s SVP of Sustainability and Chief Economist, Ronald Lam, Group Chief Executive Officer Cathay Group, Tom Owen, Director of Cathay Cargo, and executives from Atlas Air, Jardine Aviation Services Group, WestJet, and Accenture. Their insights are expected to fuel meaningful discussions and promote collaborative solutions.

Key topics of safety, sustainability, and digitalization will be explored at WCS. Sessions will address various subjects, including the safe transport of lithium batteries, a review of Annex 18 – examining the challenges and benefits in addressing regulatory gaps, ESG reporting in air cargo, digital advancements including ONE Record, and the role of generative AI in the future of air cargo. These sessions aim to provide participants with the knowledge and strategies needed to tackle industry-specific challenges while advancing sustainable practices.

Complementing the symposium are workshops designed to cultivate the next generation of industry professionals and enhance current practices. These include the Future Air Cargo Executives Summit (FACES), discussions on competency-based training, and insights into IATA’s Cargo Solutions. Moreover, the symposium will host an E-Commerce Forum, highlighting the need for increased collaboration between e-tailers and cargo operators.

A key highlight of the WCS is the FACE UP! Air Cargo Awards 2024, which recognizes the innovative contributions of recent university graduates. The finalists, chosen for their groundbreaking theses on air transport logistics, will present their projects at the conference, offering fresh perspectives and innovative ideas and a winner selected by the audience.

WCS is more than just a conference; it is a pivotal event in the industry’s calendar. It leads the way in promoting a sustainable, inclusive, and resilient air cargo sector, equipped to adapt to the ever-evolving demands of global trade and e-commerce. The event assembles industry leaders from around the world for networking and business development opportunities, providing a unique platform for discussing and implementing industry standards, policies, and procedures.

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