Food for thought

Having recently returned from IATA’s World Cargo Symposium has provided much food for thought.


Food for thought


Having recently returned from IATA’s World Cargo Symposium has provided much food for thought. The event could be criticised for being repetitive in one particular regard – navel gazing. It seems the last few editions of the annual event have seen a fair degree of not just navel gazing, but hand wringing. But to be fair, the industry has clearly been struggling – a lethal combination of changing market circumstances and severe foot dragging on issues that should have been dealt with so very long ago. Cargo 2000 – need I say more?

It wasn’t always like this. I remember attending my first WCS in Rome back roughly seven years ago. While I can’t quite remember the event in absolute detail, I do recall the atmosphere was a fair bit more upbeat, obviously reflecting the environment at the time. But, and here’s the kicker – the keynote address for the event was delivered by a senior Maersk shipping executive on the topic of modal shift! I doubt at that time his address and the topic itself drew much much serious consideration by the delegates and I’m sure the industry is all more worse off because of it.

I do have to say the Shanghai event was a bit different in the sense that while the hand wringing is sadly still going on, there is a more palatable sense of not just the urgency of fixing the bad plumbing in the industry, but that the right pipes, wrenches and Teflon tape is being gathered for the metaphorical fix.