The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called on governments and the air cargo industry to focus on three priorities to accommodate the expanding demand for air cargo and ensure the economic and social benefits of aviation can be maximized.
The three priorities are:
- Accelerating the speed of process modernization
- Implementing and enforcing global standards
- Keeping borders open to trade
The call came during the opening address by Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and CEO, at the 13th World Cargo Symposium.
Demand for air cargo grew by 3.5% in 2018, a significant deceleration from 2017 which saw extraordinary growth of 9.7%.
Weakening global trade, sagging consumer confidence and geopolitical headwinds contributed to a general slowdown in demand growth commencing in mid-2018, while January 2019 saw a year-on-year contraction of 1.8%.
With regard to modernization, de Juniac said: "The e-commerce world is looking for fully automated high-rack warehouses, with autonomous green vehicles navigating through the facility, and employees equipped with artificial intelligence and augmented reality tools.
“The average cargo warehouse today is an impressive sight. But there is a huge gap to fill. The problem is not technology. The problem is the speed to market.
“It's exceptionally tough to drive change in a global industry with a huge number of stakeholders where safety is top priority. But it is not mission impossible.
“I challenge stakeholders to find ways to drive critical change at the speed our customers expect."
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