FAPAA talks business, takes IATA to task

The Federation of Asia Pacific Air-cargo Association (FAPAA) concluded its 37th Executive Council Meeting and AGM in Singapore from 3-5 June 2010, following two-and-half days of lively, penetrating and at times heated discussion of issues pertinent to the membership which spans Asia from Japan to Pakistan. Donald Urquhart reports.

In his opening address, chairman of the Singapore Aircargo Agents Association (SAAA), which hosted the event, Steven Lee noted the rapid and “impressive” recovery in Asia towards the end of 2009 and first quarter of 2010, especially intra-Asian traffic, from lastyear’s global recession.

He went on to say that the Chinese demand for goods helped to “fill the gap” resulting from the drop in international trade. “Given this dynamic recovery Asian exports have topped the record volumes of the pre crisis years,” he said.

“Airfreight has gained some of the ground it has lost during the recession and the outlook remains positive, supported by Asia’s buoyant economic growth.” But Lee added that the challenge “is the sustainability of the recovery and the remaining concerns over regional imbalances, as well as political and economic volatility in the region.”

Key issues discussed at the meeting once again focused on the freight forwarders’ relationship with the global airline body, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), where a FAPAA talks business, takes IATA to task very frank dialogue occurred between the two parties, particularly over the contentious issues of security and IATA’s Cargo Accounts Settlement System (CASS).

“IATA initiatives for the freight forwarding industry have been a particularly important agenda item for the past five years at the Asia Pacific meetings,” FAPAA said. “CASS, E-freight and now the introduction of the E-Air Waybill (E-AWB), have all been a major concern for the representative associations of the delegates.”