IATA WCS: strengthening air cargo’s post-pandemic prospects

15 November 2022

IATA WCS: strengthening air cargo’s post-pandemic prospects

The 15th IATA World Cargo Symposium (WCS) taking place in London from September 27 – 29 will focus on building resilience to further strengthen air cargo’s post-pandemic prospects.

Covid-19 tested the resilience of the air cargo business. Despite challenging conditions, air cargo delivered critical medical supplies and vaccines across the globe and kept international supply chains open.

For many airlines, as passenger numbers plummeted, air cargo was a crucial source of revenue.

In 2021, air cargo revenues reached a record $204bn, which was more than double compared to 2019 and accounted for some 40% of total airline revenues in 2021.

In 2022, demand is expected to exceed pre-crisis (2019) levels by 13% and generate $169bn in revenue.

But the business environment is challenging. Inflation topped 10.3% in the OECD in June.

The World Bank expects energy prices to soar 50% compared with 2021. And global growth is slowing. There is no way to sugar coat the bitter economic and political realities we face.

But the desire to move goods is strong. And air cargo is resilient in a crisis. Our businesses were challenged and tested during the pandemic and we emerged stronger.

The challenge now is to retain the momentum achieved even as economic and geopolitical uncertainty grows. This is the theme of this year’s WCS.

Under the banner of “Maintaining momentum, building resilience” the event focuses on how the industry can capitalise on this resilience to build an even more promising and sustainable future.

Sustainability, digitalisation, and safety will be at the forefront of conference discussions, as will one of the biggest challenges facing us today, the severe shortage of ground handling personnel.

Identifying new ways to attract and retain talent will be a priority. The symposium will feature an Economic & Market Insights presentation from IATA’s chief economist Marie Owens Thomsen and from Marco Bloemen managing director from Seabury Cargo and a keynote address from David Shepherd, managing director, IAG Cargo among other insights.

The WCS program will also be complemented by a series of workshops, including a first-time workshop focusing on improving the efficiency of the billing settlements between airlines and freight forwarders using CASS (the Cargo Accounts Settlement System) and a workshop focused on improving performance on key market segments using IATA CEIV programs (CEIV Pharma, CEIV Live Animals, CEIV Lithium Batteries and CEIV Fresh).

The Future Air Cargo Executives Summit (FACES), which is a forum for future air cargo executives to network and share insights on career development, will also be held on the sidelines of the conference.

For more information, take a look at the roadmap and detailed programme. IATA looks forward to welcoming you to London.

Credit: IATA
By Brendan Sullivan, global head of cargo, IATA