FIATA e-Flash, 23 June

A look beyond COVID-19


News from FIATA

Since the beginning of 2020, the FIATA Secretariat has reorganised itself to support its members and ensure a coordinated and unified response during and after COVID-19. To this end, the FIATA Presidency, Extended Board and Bodies have held over 30 meetings in the first half of the year to discuss pressing issues and the way forward. In parallel, FIATA has rapidly restructured its communication channels, leveraging its dedicated COVID-19 information platform (which has received positive response from members and likeminded organisations) to progressively renew its own website to become more user-friendly and dynamic. FIATA also reinforced the content of this newsletter – today with a new look, and its magazine, the FIATA Review. As a result, social media audiences and visibility have seen three-digit increase across multiple platforms.

Now with the new office setup in Geneva and the initial team consisting of six staff completed earlier this month, the relocation process is officially on its way and it will be finalised by the end of 2020. During this transition period, the administration unit will remain in the Zürich office and will be gradually transferred to Geneva. FIATA Bodies will progressively work with the Geneva team, which brings new energies with highly skilled and motivated staff. Others will unfortunately leave FIATA, as they do not wish to move with the organisation to Geneva, such as esteemed colleagues Joana Nunes – who completed her mandate in May, and Daniel Bloch – who will leave by the end of the year. With organisational matters sorted out, FIATA is ready to tackle the challenges of the industry for the benefit of its members.

International Trade and Law

As the result of recent media reports (FreightWaves and ShippingWatch) as to government aid to shipping lines in the context of the COVID-19, FIATA has received from its members concern and consternation as to such aid being used in supporting select international freight forwarders. While all members acknowledged the important role played by government aid during challenging times, their main concern was the manner in which such funds may be, or are being, utilised by carriers as part of vertically integrated structures. FIATA recognises that this is a difficult period for companies worldwide. However, the maintenance of a level playing field in service provision to international trade logistics and supply chain management is necessary to facilitate economic recovery worldwide.

Learning and Sustainability

The Steering Committee of the Young International Freight Forwarders of the Year Award (YIFFYA) sponsored by TT Club, has decided to move forward with the 2020 contest despite the postponement of the FIATA World Congress (FWC). The candidates submitted their dissertations which are currently under review by the judges. The selection process will follow its course and regional winners as well as a global winner will be nominated. The winners will  be acknowledged in an appropriate FIATA member forum. This will give them the opportunity to meet and exchange with the international freight forwarders community and present their work at the FWC. Join YIFFYA’s LinkedIn group for more information on the candidates for the award.

Digital Trends

Ever heard about digital identities? Just like a physical ID, a digital ID is used to identify a person or a legal entity, allowing them to access online services and to perform transactions. Digital identities are key to facilitating the digitalisation of numerous processes. This is why creating a registry of FIATA members’ digital identity is one of the first two projects that have been launched, as part of the organisation’s digital strategy.

The registry will be made available to customers and partners (agents, carriers, customs, trading partners) online and through software platforms (TMSs). The registry will also constitute the first necessary step to allow FIATA members to enter the digital world, by certifying the identity of freight forwarders and ensuring they fulfil the requirements to benefit from the different solutions provided by the digital strategy (digital documents, digital signatures, exchange of data etc.). The first milestone to implementing this project will be discussed at the upcoming meeting of the Advisory Body of Information Technology, which will take place on 26 June.

Upcoming Events

Following the emergency measures put in place by states around the world to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, FIATA has cancelled all its international meetings until further notice. Regular meetings of the FIATA Presidency, the Extended Board, the Institutes, Bodies and Regional Meetings continue to take place online every month.

With the 2020 FIATA World Congress (FWC) in Busan postponed to 2022, next in line is the 2021 FWC in Brussels. The host National Association is working hard with their Professional Congress Organiser to ensure a smooth gathering of the freight forwarding community. One recent update was the validation of the logo for the 2021 FWC – this will be unveiled on 6 July with the release of the latest issue of the FIATA Review!