• Photo: Iata

04.04.2024 By: Andreas Haug

Artikel Nummer: 49065

Where, if not here?

Looking back at the 18th Iata World Cargo Symposium, Hong Kong. This year’s World Cargo Symposium (WCS), with 1,948 participants from 73 countries, was Iata’s strongest conference to date. The ITJ was there for you – and came back with varied impressions of the largest cargo airport in the world.

The global air cargo community found its smile again at the Iata World Cargo Symposium in Asia recently, with the framework for this upbeat news provided by host Hong Kong International Airport (Hkia) and by Cathay Cargo, one of the industry’s largest airfreight transport providers.

Hkia, which has been the leading cargo airport worldwide for many years now, handled approximately 4.3 million t of airfreight and airmail in 2023 (+3.2% compared to the figure for 2022).

Seeking greater sustainability

The three overarching themes of the WCS – digitalisation, efficiency, safety – were addressed through a series of presentations, talks and one-on-one discussions.

‘One Record’, which has the vision of a digital logistics and transport supply chain from one end to the other, was frequently cited as a milestone, due to its cross-sectional function. “We lost three years to Covid-19,” regretted Simon Ng, CEO of Global Logistics System (HK), but he’s still “very confident” that airlines will respond to Iata’s “wake-up call” of setting 1 January 2026 as the deadline for implementation of the project in the industry. Cathay Cargo and Champ Cargosystems led by example, with novel booking updates for major GHAs.

The three players mentioned above were also among the first signatories of Iata’s ‘Air Cargo Digitalisation Leadership Charter’. But the WCS was more than data and AI, though both can certainly contribute to efficient and thus more sustainable airfreight.

At the event Cathay Cargo Terminal and the freight specialist Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (Hactl) became the first cargo handlers to receive Iata’s Environmental Assessment (IEnvA) certificate.

Hong Kong has set the bar rather high

The conference and trade fair programme was rounded off by guided tours of Hactl’s facility, which is impressive both inside and out, whilst some visitors didn’t miss out on the gala dinner with a boat tour before the nighttime skyline.

Hong Kong, HKIA and the WCS kept the promise that everyone involved had hoped for. The bar has been set rather high for Dubai, where the 19th WCS will take place in March 2025.


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