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Abu Dhabi the next port of call for IATA’s WCS

Abu Dhabi the next port of call for IATA’s WCS

The International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) World Cargo Symposium (WCS) takes place for the 12th time from 14-16 March in Abu Dhabi.

This year’s WCS is themed ‘Transform Today: Shape Tomorrow’ and will take place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) and will welcome delegates from key stakeholders across the air cargo supply chain.

The opening plenary will kick-off WCS on Tuesday, 14 March with a welcome address by Etihad Airways’ president and chief executive officer (CEO), James Hogan.

Alexandre de Juniac_Air France for web

IATA’s director general and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac (pictured above) will then give a state of the industry talk where he will give an overview of how air cargo is performing and any challenges it faces.

WCS chairman, IATA’s head of cargo, Glyn Hughes (pictured below) will follow, giving his opening remarks and will be joined by IATA’s deputy general counsel, Carlos Tornero for a discussion.

After a networking break an economic outlook entitled – will the positive growth continue? – will be given by IATA’s senior economist, George Anjaparidze. He will give an update on the prevailing economic climate and its implications for the airfreight industry also looking back over the past 12 months and what we may expect for the upcoming 12 months.

Hughes will then review the year for air cargo giving an industry scorecard and review success and challenges during the past 12 months.


He will also cover industry priorities for the coming year and give the results of the Shipper Survey 2017, which gains an insight into air cargo performance from the eyes of the shipper.

Next up will be a panel discussion entitled UAE: Air Cargo Opportunities and Challenges. UAE-based carriers have experienced phenomenal growth in recent years as global networks of main deck and belly cargo services have expanded, leveraging the prime geographic location. Will this growth continue along the same trajectory?

What challenges exist and how will evolving supply chain demands impact carriers based in this region?

Etihad Cargo’s senior vice president, David Kerr (pictured below), and National Association of Freight & Logistics (NAFL) president, Nadia Abdul Aziz will join moderator, IATA’s senior vice president for APCS, Nick Careen for the discussion.



After a networking lunch an issue many in the industry are passionate about will be discussed as wildlife trafficking is the focus.


Etihad Airways’ environmental manager, Linden Coppell will ask – what can we do to stop it?

The $19 billion industry is one of the top five illegal trades in the globe and is threatening some of the planets most endangered species. Smugglers use many transport modes to move these goods. This presentation will highlight how the aviation industry is fighting to block the movement by air.

WEF global executive and director, Wolfgang Lehmacher will then talk about China’s New Silk Road – with the presentation detailing the challenges, risks and opportunities that lie ahead.

A discussion how the evolution of the world’s freighter fleet will follow, looking at how the market has changed over the last decade – and ask what is to come?

This will be followed by a debate called ‘Watching the horizon’ focusing on what is in store for the future and likely challenges to the industry on the horizon.

The final plenary session is ‘Transform today’ where a panel will discuss the various issues impacting the air cargo industry today and how they will shape the industry going forward.

On 15 and 16 March there will be a range of tracks where presentations and discussions will take place on e-commerce, pharmaceuticals, ULDs, perishables, digital transformation and on other pertinent issues and topics in the air cargo industry.

The evening of 15 March will also feature a glittering Gala Dinner, while network evenings will also take place on 13 March and 14 March before the closing plenary on the afternoon of 16 March wraps WCS up for another year.

An exhibition will also feature the likes of Etihad Cargo, Descartes, Swissport, Turkish Cargo, ACL Airshop, Jettainer and Boeing.

Picture of James Graham

James Graham

James Graham is an award-winning transport media journalist with a long background in the commercial freight sector, including commercial aviation and the aviation supply chain. He was the initial Air Cargo Week journalist and retuned later for a stint as editor. He continues his association as editor of the monthly supplements. He has reported for the newspaper from global locations as well as the UK.


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