WCS 2016: ICAO’s Dr. Liu projects notable air cargo growth through 2030

BERLIN — While the chief aim in the freight business is to move as much cargo as possible, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is in existence to make sure it’s done as safely as possible — and that is despite some notable growth in air cargo expected through 2030, said ICAO Secretary General, Dr. Fang Liu, during her keynote address at the 2016 World Cargo Symposium here.

In her speech, she emphasized the high value of cargo despite its tiny percentage.  The average value of goods flown by air tends to be higher value, she said. Just half of 1 percent of volume of all goods transported are flown by air, but today that represents 35 percent of the value of all goods shipped.

Worldwide, the industry supports 58 million jobs, produced US$2.4 trillion in economic activity, and the ICAO forecast is for a 5.3 percent rise in cargo through 2030. “ICAO is working with great determination and collaboration today to help ensure that our global network maintains its outstanding safety and efficiency metrics, despite the tremendous growth projected, ” Liu said.

She also described ICAO’s “No Country Left Behind” initiative to ensure that every nation has the assistance and capacity-building required to implement ICAO standards and policies. “These points bring to mind that global aviation is first and foremost a network, and that every aspect of it must function properly,” she said.

However, fragmented supply chains and infrastructure problems, she said, are preventing some regions from reaching their full potential. One solution to this “challenge from the regulatory side” is by liberalizing air transport.

“Take for example the European States, which have achieved intra-regional integration,” Liu said. “The single European aviation market removed all commercial restrictions for air operators flying within the European Union, including on routes, the number of flights and the setting of fares and rates,” resulting in significant growth.

In May 2009, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) embarked on a similar process by entering into Multilateral Agreement on the Full Liberalisation of Air Freight Services. “Its single aviation market is now increasing regional and domestic connectivity,” she said.

Liu also cited the need for modernization and expansion of infrastructure and “seamless airport facilities,” in order to accommodate the expected growth.

“Governments have remained the primary sources for related funding, but privatization and public-private partnerships can also be useful options to consider,” she added. “In this regard, I would like to urge states to include aviation in their national development plans as a strategic priority.”

Air Cargo World is the Official Media Sponsor of the IATA World Cargo Symposium.

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