| What we do and how we do it
In 2014, airlines transported 51.3 million metric tons of goods, representing more than 35% of global trade by value but less than 1% of world trade by volume. That is equivalent to $6.8 trillion worth of goods annually, or $18.6 billion worth of goods every day.
The ability to transport cargo, cross border, over long distances in relatively short timeframes provides the industry with a clear distinctive market advantage compared with other modes. However, this advantage can only be truly realized if border procedures are integrated, automated and based on risk management principles. In this regard IATA strives to work with International Organizations (WTO, ICAO, WCO), national regulators and industry stakeholders to define global procedures, regulations and standards that recognize the need to safeguard passengers, crew and cargo against acts of unlawful interference, balanced with the need to facilitate legitimate trade.
Many countries around the world have not taken steps to implement international conventions and standards to automate, coordinate or integrate their border controls. As a result, air cargo stakeholders are confronted with a variety of inefficiencies, delays and unnecessary costs. This is particularly prevalent in “least Developed Countries” and “Developing Countries”. The IATA Cargo Border Management unit, working with the Regions and IATA workgroups, seeks to resolve cargo border issues in countries around the world. However this is a constant and very demanding activity.
In December 2014 the World Trade Organization published their “Trade Facilitation Agreement” (TFA). The TFA is currently open for accession and approximately 75 WTO member States have acceded to date. When two thirds of WTO members accede (107) the TFA will enter into force and will be legally binding on those members who have acceded to the agreement. There are many synergies between the TFA and IATA Cargo objectives (promotion of automation, single windows, trusted trader programs, risk based border controls, and expedited air cargo procedures). Indeed, the TFA provides valuable tools and guidance to resolve many of the border issues mentioned above. Moreover its binding nature should make it a very efficient instrument to obtain actionable achievements.
IATA’s competitive advantage
As mentioned speed remains air cargo’s competitive advantage. Ensuring efficient and smart borders is a critical component of maintaining this benefit. The IATA Cargo Border Management unit (CBM) has the expertise to analyze and provide border management solutions based on WCO, ICAO and WTO Conventions and instruments. From 2016 IATA CBM has increased its border solution portfolio from cross-border problem resolution to cargo trade facilitation capacity building. This new activity is being undertaken at the request of countries, in partnership with donor organizations such as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and US Aid.
Further to capacity building activities IATA CBM is being requested by the WCO and ICAO to develop international standards for inclusion in their instruments. Recent examples are the Consignment Security Declaration guidance material, Advance Cargo Information standards, Guidance for implementing Advance Cargo Information programs, guidance for data quality improvements.
The current potential threat to Cargo Border Management opportunities remains the application of cargo security programs that are either not aligned with International standards or disproportionate to the risk they are seeking to mitigate. Also, protectionist measures impeding the flow of goods are a constant challenge against any trade facilitation effort.
As we continue with our cross border problem resolution, creation of global standards and trade facilitation capacity building activities there is a real opportunity to positively impact cargo border management processes that will not only reduce supply chain costs and delays, but also ease the impediments of getting goods to international markets. Furthermore, the provision of these solutions provides us with the opportunity to exploit some collateral benefits such as eAWB adoption and the implantation of systems related to the IATA XML toolkit. The role IATA is playing in partnership with international organizations furthermore strengthens the IATA brand and reputation as a key player in the area of international trade.
Gordon Wright is a Head, Cargo Border Management at the International Air Transport Association in Geneva and is currently responsible for cargo security, Customs and trade facilitation. His main role is to work with and respond to new Customs, facilitation and security challenges from regulators and International Organizations and develop standards, tools and measures to meet these new requirements.
Head, Cargo Border Management
International Air Transport Association
Prior to this role Gordon had a 28 year career as a regulator (Customs) working in all aspects of enforcement activity in the UK and South Africa, both as an inspector and as a Senior Operational Manager. For the last 11 years Mr. Wright has specialized in supply chain security solutions and Trade facilitation at an international level. Prior to his arrival at IATA he was responsible for EU/US Customs security programs and aviation security whilst on secondment to the EU Commission (DG TAXUD). Gordon holds a Masters in International Customs Law and Administration.