Impact Publications : Aircargo-259
AIRCARGO ASIA-PACIFIC • MAR-APR, 2019 • Page 21 INTERVIEW Over the 50 years of FIATA’s Air Freight Institute (AFI), there have been monumental shifts in freight handling, including the recent intro- duction of AI and predictive analytics for improved visibility, efficiency and security. How has it affected the role of the forwarder? One major evolution that we have witnessed over the years is a clear shift in the role of the for- warder from the ‘agent’ of the air- line to a ‘customer’ of the airline. This demanded not only a change in commercial dealings but also enhanced responsibilities, as the erstwhile agent now stepped into the shoes of a virtual ‘shipper’. By doing so, the forwarders took on more accountability in terms of security and transpar- ency of airfreight shipments. The forwarder assumed increased responsibilities not only towards the airlines in terms of security and transparency, but also to- wards his shippers, who were now his direct customers, rather than that of the airline. Liability re- gimes changed in such instances, as did the commercials. What are some of the major achieve- ments of the AFI? One of the major projects AFI currently is working on is the IATA FIATA Air Cargo Program. Under the new environment where the agent/forwarder acts as a customer of the airline, it was seen to be appropriate that there be one single Global program, rather than the legacy agency programs which are rather frag- mented and governed differently in various parts of the world. This is still under discussion. How important is reducing shipment idle times? It is a well known fact that air- STEPHEN MORRIS Continued next page 50 years on, how do AFI (and FIATA) see the future for freight forwarders? THE AIRFREIGHT Institute (AFI) of the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) has reached a milestone – 50 years representing the interests of airfreight forwarders world wide. AFI has come a long way since its founding in 1969 and so has the industry. AFI held its first meeting on 17 June 1970, the same year the B747 ‘Jumbo jet’ made its first commercial flight. While only 540 747s remain in service today, AFI is still flying high and representing members’ interests. FIATA president Babar Badat said: “In the past half century, AFI has been following the market development of air freight, addressing its members’ concerns and safeguarding the interests of air forwarders.” Under the FIATA umbrella are the IATA FIATA Consultative Council, the IATA FIATA Governing Board, ICAO – FIATA DGR Training Program, currently in its eighth year, e-initiatives, safety/security issues, and the IATA FIATA Air Cargo Program (IFACP). The current IATA Cargo Agency/Intermediary programs will be replaced soon by the new IATA-FIATA Air Cargo Program (IFACP) under the governance of IATA-FIATA Governance Board (IFGB). Once it is implemented, the Cargo Agency/Intermediary Program Rules will be suspended. Stephen Morris, FIATA acting director general and the chair of AFI Keshav Tanna provided the following perspective on the role of AFI within FIATA and its success in representing its members interests when it comes to air freight.