A record 1,000 delegates have attended the first day of AirCargo 2024, taking place this week at the Omni Louisville Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, USA, as dozens of leading experts take to the stage to debate key issues, from the rapidly changing regulatory and security landscape to the latest in tech in freight.
The three-day conference, which runs from Sunday, February 11, to Tuesday, February 13, kicked off as Brandon Fried, Executive Director of the Airforwarders Association, joined industry leaders in urging world governments to urgently provide better maritime security.
A letter, sent to US Government agencies and the White House, was signed by over 105 trade associations representing a broad spectrum of industry, calling for better worldwide alignment in response to the deteriorating situation in the Red Sea, which has forced vessels to use a diverted route around the Cape of Good Hope.
The letter states: “The prosperity of millions of people who are employed in our industries and in the global maritime industry depends on safe and secure freedom of navigation.
“It is imperative that governments unite behind a zero-tolerance approach to deter attacks on commercial vessels and seafarers in the Red Sea, and anywhere in the world.”
AirCargo 2024 opened with a fireside chat between Fried and Captain Houston Mills, UPS President of Flight Operations & Safety, to discuss topics from improving sustainability to navigating trade agreements, regulations, and the importance of engaging in Government advocacy.
The audience heard about the latest challenges facing the air cargo industry which included modernizing infrastructure as airspace becomes more congested, the ongoing pilot shortage, implementing new technologies efficiently, and embracing big data analytics.
Captain Mills said: “It’s an honor to be here at the 2024 AirCargo conference and to be amongst like-minded aviation enthusiasts who are committed to keeping the world of commerce moving forward.”
Fried added: “With an increasingly unstable and unpredictable geopolitical landscape, events like AirCargo are very important as they offer a chance for industry colleagues get together to meet and collaborate on the most effective way to navigate forward.
“The growing risks associated with traditional shipping routes means air cargo has an increasingly crucial role to play, offering shippers a less volatile alternative for moving goods, which also comes with the added benefits of better speed and strong reliability.
“We are very pleased to be able to host air cargo delegates from across the world to discuss these issues and come up with solutions, which will help all of us capitalize on emerging opportunities in a rapidly evolving landscape.”
AirCargo 2024 was established in 1997 and brings together airlines, airport authorities, freight forwarders, truckers, and expediting companies, along with the vendors who support them.
AfA represents the interests of companies and individuals operating within the US and engaged in airfreight, with members including domestic and foreign freight forwarders, air carriers, ground carriers, and affiliated businesses.
Alongside the AfA, the AirCargo 2024 conference is also sponsored by the Air and Expedited Motor Carriers Association (AEMCA) and Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA).