IATA study finds air cargo connectivity boosts global trade participation


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released a study yesterday at the Air Cargo Media Day in Geneva, which it says identifies a quantitative link between a country’s air cargo connectivity and its participation in global trade.

The association says the study it commissioned, with research carried out by Developing Trade Consultants, found a one per cent increase in air cargo connectivity was associated with a 6.3 per cent increase in a country’s total trade.

IATA’s chief economist, Brian Pearce explains: “Air cargo is key in supporting the current global trading system. In 2015, airlines transported 52.2 million metric tons of goods, representing about 35 per cent of global trade by value.

“That is equivalent to $5.6 trillion worth of goods annually, or $15.3 billion worth of goods every day. We now have quantitative evidence of the important link between air cargo connectivity and trade competitiveness. It’s is in the economic interest for governments to promote and implement policies for the efficient facilitation of air cargo.”

Key policy level and practical industry modernisation priorities to improve countries’ air cargo connectivity identified in the study include legislative priorities include the ratification and implementation of the 1999 Montreal Convention to enable countries to adopt e-freight; and the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement and World Customs Organization (WCO) revised Kyoto Convention to implement smart border solutions that reduce complexity and costs.

And practical industry modernisation priorities identified in the study include facilitation of electronic processing, through electronic air waybills (e-AWB) and e-freight; and implementation by governments of “single window” processing – ultimately enabling submission of all regulatory documents for trade via one channel.

The study also found the need for co-ordinated border agency procedures to reduce duplicative controls; implementation of risk management controls at borders to combat illicit activities and facilitate compliant traders and the need to implement processes to approve release of shipments in advance of their actual arrival.

IATA’s head of cargo, Glyn Hughes adds: “Facilitating trade with efficient air cargo processes requires a strong partnership between governments and industry. Governments have the important role of implementing global standards and agreements to facilitate trade and make it possible for airlines to modernize processes.

“In turn, the industry needs to embrace these opportunities to improve competitiveness and provide customers with enhanced shipping quality, service and better predictability.”