World cargo symposium: Digitalization, sustainability, safety atop discussions


…Regulatory oversight of freight forwarders/handling agents for dangerous goods shipments inclusive



International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced the agenda for the IATA World Cargo Symposium (WCS) which will feature specialized tracks on Digitalization, Sustainability and Safety & Security. WCS is taking place in Hong Kong (SAR), China from 12 – 14 March 2024.

IATA highlights that “Air cargo is an unsung hero of the global economy.”

“In normal times, it delivers some 35% of the value of goods traded across borders. In the pandemic, air cargo brought medical supplies and vaccines to where they were needed. And today it is providing a vital transport alternative for some products as Red Sea shipping lanes face geopolitical uncertainty. Air cargo’s success matters. When air cargo’s global leaders gather in Hong Kong for the IATA World Cargo Symposium, ensuring the future reliability and growth of this critical sector will be top of mind with an agenda focused on sustainability, digitalization, safety and security,” said Brendan Sullivan, IATA’s Global Head of Cargo.

According to the organizers, speakers and sessions include

Ronald Lam, Cathay Group Chief Executive Officer, Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General, and Marie Owens Thomsen, IATA’s SVP Sustainability and Chief Economist, will join Sullivan in setting the scene for the conference with keynote addresses. They will be followed by key air cargo experts, including:

Tom Owen, Director of Cargo, Cathay Pacific

Michael Steen, Chief Executive Officer, Atlas Air

Vivian Lau, Chief Executive, Jardine Aviation Services Group

Kirsten de Bruijn, Executive Vice President Cargo, WestJet

Marco Bloeman, Managing Director, Accenture and Head of Accenture Cargo

The event’s overall theme of Driving Sustainable and Inclusive Growth will be supported by three tracks:

Sustainability, which will include sessions on tracking progress towards net zero carbon emissions by 2050, ESG reporting, optimizing operations for environmental performance, reducing single use plastics, and circular strategies for Unit Load Device (ULD) components.

Digitalization, which will include sessions on data driven strategies to improve performance and reduce costs, achieving the efficiencies of OneRecord, and the potential for generative AI in air cargo.

Safety & Security, which will include sessions on Annex 18 Regulatory oversight of freight forwarders/handling agents for dangerous goods shipments, fire containment strategies for lithium battery shipments, ULD airworthiness, latest developments for the safety of live animal shipments, implications of an integrated risk management framework.


Inclusive strategies for managing the people needed to lead and drive the future of air cargo will be the focus of two key WCS workshops:

Building the next generation of talent at the Future Air Cargo Executives Summit (FACES)

The benefits of competency-based training through IATA’s Competency-Based Training and Assessment Center (CBTA Center) and how it helps to improve workplace safety and performance.

Additional workshops include:

Improving performance on key market segments using IATA Center of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) programs (CEIV Pharma, CEIV Live Animals, CEIV Lithium Batteries and CEIV Fresh).

How IATA’s Cargo Solutions are assisting the industry in decision making and cargo compliance, towards improving safety and efficiency.

How air cargo billing and settlement can be enhanced using the new CASSLink

An E-Commerce Forum to identify how more visibility between e-tailers and cargo operators would improve efficiency.

IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 320 airlines comprising 83% of global air traffic.







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