Welcomes Africa’s popular AIR CARGO SHOW

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The city of Ekurhuleni to host AIR CARGO AFRICA, the most popular air cargo exhibition cum conference of the continent, later this month bolstering African continent’s potential in the air freight industry.

Nowhere in the world is the potential for aviation greater than on the African continent, home to over a billion people spread across 20 percent of the world’s land mass. Aviation has aided linking the continent to the world and plays a powerful role in integrating the 54 national economies of Africa. Aviation allows even the most remote destinations to be a part of the global economy. In fact a few of the robust African economies are turning the continent into a success story offering huge potential for connecting global trade and commerce with African economies. The World Bank estimates that the continent’s growth prospects remain favorable despite emerging challenges, such as weaker commodity prices and tighter global financial conditions. Foreign direct investment (FDI) continued to flow to the region, not only in the oil, gas and mining sectors but also in non-extractive industries. Net FDI inflows were an estimated $43 billion in 2013, up from $37 billion in 2012. With the rapid GDP growth in some regions and with relatively low intra-trade taking place within Africa, demand for cargo services across most industry sectors looks set to increase over the next five years. African economies are undoubtedly growing economies and the range of cargo required is wide. The global demand for the continent’s huge pool of natural resources continues to escalate, leading to interest from the international logistics sector keen to snare a piece of the action. Air cargo has been a tremendous enabler for economic development. This is largely because of the speed at which this mode of transport allows goods get distributed around the world and the geographic reach air cargo offers to trade and commerce. And for Africa, air cargo is even more crucial to effectively connect with international markets. “The air cargo market in Africa comprises mainly of air imports, air exports and intra-African air freight. Africa is very dependent on air-freight due to the infrastructure challenges which exists in the supply chain, hence the demand for air-freight to, from and within Africa is amongst the highest in the world,” points out Sanjeev Gadhia, CEO, Astral Aviation. Since the inception of STAT Media Group, it has been the endeavour of the group to become the voice of the transport and logistics industries, particularly air cargo, and offer their stakeholders the right platform to facilitate and help improve trade and business. We consistently believe that air cargo is a tremendous enabler of economic development. This is largely because of the speed at which this mode of transport allows goods get distributed around the world and the geographic reach air cargo offers to trade and commerce. And for Africa, air cargo is even more crucial to effectively connect with international markets. Therefore, AIR CARGO AFRICA (ACA), organised by The STAT Trade Times, the flagship publication of STAT Media Group, provides an ideal win-win situation to every player in the air freight industry, who are looking out for fresh opportunities. It is an international biennial exhibition cum conference conceptualised to showcase Africa's air cargo potential on a global scale. In its past two editions — inaugural edition at Nairobi in 2011 and the second edition at Johannesburg in 2013 — the event had attracted significant participation from major airlines and airports, particularly from Africa. The third edition of AIR CARGO AFRICA is themed around ‘Air Cargo: Africa’s path to sustainable growth’ reflecting the importance of the air freight industry within African economies. The event will take place from February 25 to 27 at Emperors Palace & Casino Resort in the city of Ekurhuleni. South African Airways Cargo is the diamond sponsor of the event. While Swissport Cargo Services and WFS support the event as platinum sponsors; Airports Company South Africa and National come in as gold sponsors. Etihad Cargo, Accenture and Liege Airport support the event as silver sponsors. The objective of AIR CARGO AFRICA is to bring to international focus the opportunities existing in African markets, which are progressively being seen as open for business regardless of perceptions of eminent risk. This event in particular will let African trade and business and global air cargo industry to have a firsthand experience of the imminent opportunity that exists in using air cargo as a preferred mode of transportation. “Air Cargo Africa 2015 is by far the best event for air-cargo in Africa. Astral Aviation has participated in Air Cargo Africa 2011 and 2013, and has had positive results from the previous events,” adds Gadhia. Being a specialized event which focuses on the African continent, Astral will showcase its new fleet comprising of the B737-400 Freighter in addition to its new freighter network. “Additionally, the event will enable us to network with like-minded executives from the air-cargo fraternity who have a common objective to promote air-cargo in Africa.” It is estimated that air cargo transports goods worth $6.4 trillion annually, which is 35 percent of total global trade by value. The air cargo sector generates $70 billion annually and collectively supports 57 million jobs worldwide. Besides it is important to acknowledge the position South Africa, the host country of AIR CARGO AFRICA, enjoys in the emerging market economies of the world, particularly being a partner nation in the BRICS group, which, perhaps, is the most powerful and influential group of economies in the world. In fact in August 2014, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) organized the first meeting on Air Cargo Development in Africa in Lome, Togo, making assessment of the current status of the air cargo market in Africa and laying down specific action plan to achieve key milestones in this sector. While making a soul stirring speech at the last edition of AIR CARGO AFRICA in 2013, Malusi Gigaba, former minister of Public Affairs of South Africa, had insisted on the importance of the air cargo industry to a nation’s growth. “As we continue to increase trade among African countries and with others, we need to have an improved logistical capacity,” Gigaba said in his speech. This year, a key aspect of AIR CARGO AFRICA will be the Flower Shippers’ Forum jointly organized by STAT Times and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. “Schiphol already recognizes Africa’s huge importance in producing and shipping flowers and certain foodstuffs, and these commodities make up a significant proportion of our import traffic. We continue to work hard to develop this traffic by bringing our logistics community together with African exporters, to foster better mutual understanding of needs and solutions in this sector – for example, through our organisation of the Flower Shippers’ Forum session at the upcoming AIR CARGO AFRICA conference,” says Bart Pouwels, Director Business Development Cargo at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. Pouwels considers AIR CARGO AFRICA as the best opportunity to meet people not only in the airfreight and logistics sector, but also within user markets. “ACA has made great efforts to attract producers, manufacturers, industry bodies, governmental bodies and others to represent the entire global supply chain. From Schiphol’s perspective as neutral intermediaries and facilitators in the optimization of global airfreight supply chains, we welcome the opportunity to contribute to such cross-platform interaction through, for example, our involvement in organizing the Flower Shippers’ Forum. Africa is a young market, and it needs our industry’s support.” At the third edition, listen to some of the best chief executives of world’s leading aviation companies share their thoughts on what keeps the aviation industry, particularly air cargo, going and help you make realistic assessment of the industry and sharpen your business vision. Among the CEOs who have confirmed participation as speakers include Saxen Van Coller, Chief Executive Officer, Dube TradePort Corporation; Amine EL Farissi, CEO, Atlas Cargo Lines, The Royal Air Maroc Cargo Subsidiary; Sanjeev Gadhia, Founder & CEO, Astral Aviation and Dokisime Gnama Latta, Director General, National Civil Aviation Administration (NCAA), Togolese Republic. Other leaders who have confirmed participation include Soomi Ro, Chief of Logistics & Transportation, United Nations; Fitsum Abady, managing director, Ethiopian Cargo Services; Glyn Hughes, Global Head of Cargo, IATA; Peter Scholten, Former Vice President, Commercial, Saudia Cargo; Ulrich Ogiermann, Chief Officer Cargo, Qatar Airways; Oliver Evans, Chief Cargo Officer, SwissWorld; Justin Lancaster, Group Commercial Director, Air Charter Service (ACS); Colin David Baldwin, Senior Vice President, Africa, Swissport Cargo Services; Ivin George, Vice President, DHL Global Forwarding; Duncan Watson, VP, Cargo Commercial Operations, Emirates Airline; Markus Muecke, Global Head, Air Freight Tradelane Management and Procurement, Panalpina; Ganesh Vaideeswaran, Managing Director, Product Management, Accenture Freight & Logistics Software, Accenture; Tom Crabtree, Regional Director – Airline Market Analysis, Marketing & Business Development, Boeing Commercial Airplanes; Tleli Makhetha, General Manager, SAA Cargo; Carsten Wirths, VP Area Management, Europe & Africa, Lufthansa Cargo AG; David Shepherd, Global Head of Commercial, IAG Cargo; Barry D Nassberg, Group Chief Operating Officer, Worldwide Flights Services; D Dick Murianki, General Manager, Cargo, Kenya Airways. As usual the highlight of AIR CARGO AFRICA will be the award night on the second day of the event, February 26, at the Barnyard Theatre. The awards are presented to honour the excellence of leadership by individuals and by organizations of the air cargo industry worldwide. At the last edition in Johannesburg, the event saw 413 key decision makers from global air cargo industry participating as delegates and attracted 2865 visitors coming from 51 countries of which 27 countries from Africa alone. Besides there were 77 companies, representing airlines, airports, freight forwarders, ground handlers, and technology solution providers, exhibiting their products and services. The event garnered great support from the City of Ekurhuleni, which is home to O R Tambo International Airport, the busiest airport in Africa. In fact the 2013 event was inaugurated by Clr Thumbu Mahlangu, a Member of Mayoral Committee for Public Transport, Planning and Provision for the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality.

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