Though air cargo facilitation is a crucial component in global air traffic, the air cargo industry faces a range of challenges today. It is because of the challenges that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) have taken steps to intensify their cooperation in optimizing the efficiency and security of international air cargo, a sector that is forecast to grow at an annual rate of 4.2 per cent through to 2032.
Although today’s aircraft move well over five trillion dollars’ worth of goods by air each year, the significant growth being projected for this sector, not to mention its role as a critical enabler of trade and prosperity, requires that its processes, procedures and the international standards supporting its global effectiveness, become better aligned with modern demands and capabilities.
In her remarks to the air cargo experts assembled at the 28th International Air Cargo Forum and Exhibition (ACF 2016), that took place in Paris from 26 to 28 October 2016, ICAO’s Secretary General, Dr. Fang Liu, declared “The importance of air cargo in the global economy is clearly established, in particular its role in facilitating the delivery of high-value goods, just-in-time freight operations, and growing e-commerce activities,”. She further stated that the ICAO/TIACA shared objective is to improve regulatory and procedural efficiencies and expedite cargo movements for all global citizens and businesses.”
ICAO and TIACA have identified a number of important initiatives to streamline the ongoing replacement of paper documentation with electronic communication for air cargo shipments. One example of this is the deployment of electronic Consignment Security Declarations and Air Waybills. The two organizations will also be working together to develop a technology platform for the support of Pre-Loading Advance Cargo Information (PLACI) systems.
As she addressed event participants, Dr. Liu stressed the importance of ensuring proper implementation of the modernized regulatory framework that has resulted from ICAO’s cooperation with air cargo industry organizations over the past several years. She highlighted the implementation of ICAO and TIACA’s Cargo Service Quality Index for measuring cargo performance at the airport level; the need to stay aligned on emerging challenges such as lithium-ion battery shipments; big-data and e-commerce; and TIACA’s offer to assist ICAO with cargo industry training and certification.
“ICAO is pursuing a number of key priorities to aid air cargo security and facilitation, ensuring growth while maintaining high levels of safety and security, building capacity to ensure effective implementation of ICAO’s standards and policies and promoting e-freight to encourage full exploitation of modern technologies,” Dr. Liu told delegates. “The recently concluded ICAO 39th Assembly has made these goals clear, and I am confident that by working together we will make great inroads towards achieving them by 2020.”