Leaders and industry experts from across the aviation industry travelled to Dublin, Ireland for the IATA’s 2021 World Cargo Symposium to learn about the latest trends and issues impacting air cargo.
The Symposium featured plenary sessions, specialized streams, workshops and executive summits, focusing on Technology & Innovation, Security & Customs, Cargo Operations and Sustainability – key priorities to ensure the air cargo industry remains resilient post-COVID-19 pandemic.
Michael Steen, Chief Commercial Officer of Atlas Air Worldwide and President and Chief Executive Officer, Titan Aviation Holdings and Peter Penseel, Chief Operations Officer, Airfreight CEVA addressed the priority of modernization on the panel titled “Challenges and Opportunities: Air Cargo Transformation,” which was moderated by Lionel van der Walt, Global Chief Commercial Officer, PayCargo.
A key theme from the discussion was the need for airfreight stakeholders to embrace change to reach digitalization goals.
As reported by Air Cargo World, when asked at the panel to rate the air cargo industry on digitalization, both Michael and Peter put the industry at around five on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the most digitalized.
“Despite all of the achievements in the past 18 months that air cargo players can be proud of, there is still much to do in terms of adjusting and managing processes as well as collaborating more actively across the entire air cargo supply chain,” said Michael.
He continued, “People are very often the inhibitor of change or development and it can be based on anecdotes or reality that is not necessarily correct. I think that’s one of the big challenges that we have to overcome.”
Peter agreed, adding that, “The industry has long been hampered by an unwillingness among stakeholders to enable easier communication and cooperation through data sharing. Individual stakeholders fear losing their competitive advantage by sharing their data with potential competitors, but if we really want to make steps, big data and cooperation with the parties in the supply chain will be essential.”
“I think [digitalization is] critical in so many aspects, because it doesn’t only have to do with your own effectiveness and efficiency as a company,” said Michael. “It drives innovation, it drives relationships, and it drives some of your importance or the role that you play in the industry. So, if you are going to be relevant in the future, you have to invest.”