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All being well, in a few days the new Loadstar site will go live. One of the (many) conundrums is what picture we use for IATA. A smiling photo of the affable Des, showing the new cuddly face of IATA Cargo? Or a rather more Ivory Towers-style image of the impressive, and daunting Montreal HQ? The question really being – who is now in charge – Des, or the old-guard  IATA?

The fact that we have gone for a pic of the building doesn’t imply that we think the old guard still calls the shots – we just thought it would be helpful for everyone to remember some of the ends their membership fees are used for.

On the eve of the opening of IATA’s World Cargo Symposium, The Loadstar is wondering what will have changed. What will mark Des’s takeover of control? And how much has been achieved since last year?

Gacag has evidently been busy. The security authorities seem to be more in a mood to listen than they were before.

And the e-freight message has been broadcast loud and clear – although it seems a little these days as if the IATA team is preaching to the converted.  Yes, it drives industry efficiency. Yes, the big players are on board. But the smaller ones still need convincing, and there is a certain amount of e-freight fatigue reverberating through the industry. Perhaps it’s best to carry on this work with behind-the-scenes support from now on, and talk less about it, for fear of boring rather than inspiring those who need most convincing. The conversation needs to move on.

Because there are certainly things that IATA needs to talk about. Cargo 2000, for example. Des has expressed his support for it as it currently stands – but the majority of the industry (see Airline Cargo Management’s survey) feels it needs some serious remodelling and something of an image change. C2K itself argues that it is a well-known brand and therefore shouldn’t be changed. But well-known doesn’t mean much admired, and there is certainly a movement for a re-shaping of both the brand and the format.

There’s also the issue of transparency, one of the things Des seemed keen to introduce. But it’s not just the journalists already griping about the myriad of closed meetings at WCS. There should be nothing to hide, so observers should be welcome. And wouldn’t that make any anti-trust concerns easier – if things were open?

One thing has changed at least. I’m sure the IATA figure used to be that air freight represented 2% of global volumes. Well, according to Guillaume Drucy at the WCA Family event last week (and well done IATA for going to speak to the independent forwarders), it is now a pitiful 0.5%. Quite a significant change. Which really leads to the question: is this industry truly sustainable?

Well, I guess we’ll find out over the next few days. But, along with the other delegates, I assume, The Loadstar is truly hoping that things have moved on. A repeat of the conversations of the past four years would be truly depressing.




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