Air Cargo Africa 2015: Could air cargo make this Africa’s century?
JOHANNESBURG – February 25, 2015 –AIR CARGO AFRICA 2015, the continent’s most popular biennial air cargo event, kicked off a lively day of dialogue and exhibitions by the world’s leaders in the air cargo industry. Focusing on Africa’s role in air cargo, the first day of the three-day event held from 25 to 27 February at Emperors Palace close to OR Tambo International Airport,demonstrated the vital role that the air cargo industry plays in the economic progress of a country. The AIR CARGO AFRICA 2015 event was opened by the executive mayor of the City of Ekurhuleni, Mondli Gungubele, who said in his opening address that the City of Ekurhuleni region had become the aviation-, logistics-, and manufacturing hub of Africa, and that OR Tambo International Airport was strategically positioned as a gateway to Africa. He reiterated the goals and vision of the City of Ekurhuleni becoming Africa’s first aerotropolis, and in this way also turn the tide of poverty and underdevelopment for the majority of the region’s people. Gungubele also highlighted that trade amongst African countries was still low and this had to increase in order to enhance the continent’s effectiveness. Nico Bezuidenhout, acting CEO of SAA echoed this thought. Delivering the day’s keynote address, Bezuidenhout encouraged the removal of barriers to trade in Africa, and motivated for an open trade environment that would allow air cargo to be a catalyst for growth throughout the continent. He believed the industry had only yet uncovered the “tip of the iceberg” in terms of opportunities in Africa, but also said that these opportunities could not be pursued without being mindful of the continent’s challenges. The view of Africa as a large region with numerous possibilities, but one still affected by challenges, was the general view by the round table panel, which followed the keynote address. Chaired by Glyn Hughes, Global Head of Cargo, IATA- Chairman, the panel included Bezuidenhout; Fitsum Abady, managing director at Ethiopian Cargo Services; Barry Nassberg, Group COO at Worldwide Flight Services; Muecke Markus, head of Airfreight, Panalpina; Oliver Evans, chairman at TIACA, Nils Pries Knudsen, head of Global Cargo, Swissport; Ulrich Ogiermann, chief officer of Cargo at Qatar Airways; and Shahe Ouzounian, chief operating officer at Chapman Freeborn. Views expressed included: “Africa’s challenges need to be acknowledged so that they can be addressed”; “The continent’s collective GDP shows that Africa is growing and will continue to do so due to China and India investing”; “Global and local knowledge is required to succeed”; “Africa’s growing middle class presents opportunities for air cargo in consumer goods”; “Competition is welcome”; Infrastructure needs to improve to make the environment sustainable in the long run”; “Partnerships play a large role to succeed”; “Africa is a huge continent, cargo companies should pick and choose which opportunities to focus on to be successful”; “It won’t happen overnight”; “The red tape has to disappear”; “It’s not just boxes. Air cargo affects lives – from pharmaceuticals to flowers – it touches society”; and“Intra-Asia now, intra-Africa tomorrow”. The tone of the event was best summed up by R.K. Patra, group editor-in-chief of STAT Trade Times, the publishing house organising the event, when he showed how the perception of Africa in the media had changed over the years froma continentin despairto one of rising opportunities and great potential. “We firmly believe that African economies have a great potential to build on their demographic dynamism, rapid urbanisation and natural-resource assets. The challenge now for many of them is to ensure that greater insertion into global value chains is achieved and has a positive impact on people’s lives. However, bear in mind that Africa is too big to follow one script, so its countries are taking different routes to becoming better places,” concluded Patra. For more information and to register as a delegate, please visit: stattimes.com/aca2015/ About the organiser: STAT Times, a publication belonging to STAT Media Group, is a multimodal international transport media in existence since 1986 specialising in Air Cargo and enjoying a worldwide circulation amongst the leaders of the AirCargo Industry. Apart from Air Cargo Africa, STAT Times also organises the popular International BiennialInternational event AIR CARGO INDIA in India. For more details, please contact: Debbie Sielemann icomm +27 92 414 4633 [email protected] icomm-pr.co.za