For the first time in 2 years, the Federation of Asia Pacific Aircargo Associations, or FAPAA, is proud to announce that it will be holding a face-to-face general meeting in Penang on 15–16 July 2022 at the Golden Sands Hotel on Batu Ferranghi. The Penang Freight Forwarders Association (PFFA) will be the host of this year’s meeting, which expects to gather major associations across Asia Pacific to discuss important industry issues. In an interview, Paul Golland, chairman of FAPAA and vice chair of the International Freight Forwarders and Customs Brokers Association of Australia (IFCBAA), gave us a rundown of the comeback meeting, as well as his take on the air freight industry in Asia Pacific.
Can you give us your outlook for freight and logistics across Asia Pacific?
There does seem to be a slow but steady increase in airfreight across the Asia Pacific region but this has fallen behind where most thought it would be due to Omicron and the conflict in the Ukraine. The latest IATA figures show a 2.7 percent growth in January 2022 YoY. Trade and economical growth continues to expand but consumer confidence is easing. More flights are being canceled which reduces the airfreight capacity when it should be growing more.
Which countries do you think will see more logistics infrastructure developments across the region?
Those countries that are relaxing their border controls will benefit more than those keeping restrictions in place. Australia, after having some of the toughest border controls, is reopening to the world and seeing more tourists, flight capacity which help to increase its economy. The Asia Pacific region must follow Europe in living with Covid but reducing the disruption to people, travel , and economies.
What are the challenges for freight forwarders and logistics right now? Where are the opportunities?
The biggest challenge at the moment is getting space on flights to move their customers’ cargo. Freight is moving from other parts of the world into the Asian hubs but then being held due to lack of available space to complete the last leg of its journey. This lack of space has also seen an increase in freight rates throughout the world. Lack of staff at airlines, terminals, warehouses etc are also causing challenges for freight forwarders often meaning cargo misses its connections or is delayed in check in and availability at destination.
Finally we are seeing the introduction of shipping lines moving into the airfreight business and threatening what have up to now been freight forwarder markets. Opportunities will exist for those who can react quickly and efficiently once the effects of the pandemic reduce further. Freight forwarders have to ensure they have trained staff in place to meet customer needs in the future.
How important are trade bodies like FAAPA and IFCBAA in addressing industry issues?
Trade bodies are vitally important to industry as they allow individual members to have a voice that reaches national and international bodies as well as governments. FAPAA does this one step higher in that it is made of country associations rather than individual members. It speaks as a single voice for the airfreight industry in the Asia Pacific, the biggest region movers of airfreight in the world. It looks to deal with Macro issues covering the whole region.
My association IFCBAA represents the interests of Australians forwarders and brokers domestically and feeds international issues on to organisations, such as FAPAA, who then refer them to the likes of IATA. In this way, we get the best representation for all our members on international issues.
How many associations have confirmed their attendance for this year’s AGM? What can participants expect at the event?
So far we have Malaysia, Australia, Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, Pakistan and Taiwan attending and we are waiting to hear from another 5-6 countries depending on their government’s approach to Covid. We intend to offer online access to those unable to attend personally. Participants can expect to discuss all aspects of the international airfreight business, training, what other member countries are doing and their issues and hopefully hear from the likes of IATA and carrier staff. In essence we want delegates to come away able to go back to their members and advise them on the trends for future airfreight development.
Why should companies attend the upcoming event? What are the benefits of being part of a wider trade body?
As FAPAA is an association of country associations, and individual companies do not really attend. They rely on their elected representatives to put their issues forward at an international forum with access to senior organisations they would not normally get to talk with, as individuals. This is the biggest advantage of being part of a bigger trade body as it allows every member of a national organisation to have a voice at the international table.