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            november 18, 2019

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Air Cargo industry challenges addressed at this year’s conference

  26.02.2013    

The second biennial international air logistics conference and exhibition, Air Cargo Africa, held in South Africa, from 20 to 22 February 2013 at the Emperors Palace in Johannesburg’s East Rand, gathered a record number of 413 global industry decision makers as registered delegates and lured an impressive number of 2865 visitors from 27 countries across Africa and 24 countries from other continents to explore business prospects. 
The event garnered great support from the City of Ekurhuleni, which is home to the busiest airport in Africa, OR Tambo International Airport. Over the next five years the City has planned to optimise the existence of the airport in its space together with other key development nodes and build it into an aerotroplolis that will define the future of aviation for Africa. Member of Mayoral Committee for Public Transport, Planning and Provision, Clr Thumbu Mahlangu of Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality inaugurated the event. 
Burning industry issues were put on the agenda and the thought provoking deliberations sent airport administrators, freight forwarders and airline operators home with solutions for implementation. 
Air cargo plays a significant role in the global economy yet the African continent still remains an untapped market. The challenges that prevent air cargo from being a recognisable industry in the continent and across the globe include supply-chain efficiency, infrastructure development, security enhancement, technology advancement and simplification of operations. 
Priyo Patra, Director of Events and Marketing of STAT Media Group, said, “It has been estimated that the industry will grow by 5.2 % in 2031 and Asia will be a major driver of this growth”. 
For an industry that operates on survival rather than focusing on the future, the estimated growth is insignificant and has potential to be elevated. The future is Africa and the following solutions will enable the development of this market: 
·       African airlines need to start taking themselves seriously by conducting their businesses professionally
·       Infrastructure investment in Africa should come from more countries in addition to China
·       The industry must adopt e-Freight for easier tracking and clearing processes
·       The air waybill system that slows the clearing process should be eliminated
·       Operational charges must be reduces in order to invite participation from more airlines, including small operators 
Mr. Patra emphasised, “Air cargo is the oil that greases the world economy and we need to continue to find ways to grow the industry”. 
Air Cargo Africa also hosted the STAT Times International Awards for excellence in air cargo. The awards that took place as part of the Gala Award Night were instituted in various sectors of the air cargo industry. . The South African Minister of Public Enterprises, Minister Malusi Gigaba was the keynote speaker for the award night. The Department of Public Enterprises manages South Africa’s state owned enterprises including national carrier, South African Airways. The Lifetime Achievement Award awarded for meritorious service of excellence in the air cargo industry was awarded to Mr Issa Baluch, Chairman of Africa Atlantic Holdings Limited (Dubai) and 37-year veteran of the freight forwarding industry. The second most coveted award of the night was where Emirates SkyCargo emerged as winner for the Global Cargo Airline of the year.
Gatherings such as Air Cargo Africa 2013 provide a significant platform for global cargo industries to engage on pertinent issues affecting the sector. They also enable access to investment and trade opportunities.


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