South Africa will be playing host to over 1 200 industry stakeholders and decision makers from around the world at the annual International Federation of Freight Forwarders’ Associations (FIATA) World Congress 2019 taking place from 1 to 5 October at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC). The congress is being hosted jointly with FIATA’s local member, the South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAAFF), under the theme ‘Where Technology and Logistics Meet.’
The event will bring together the international freight logistics and transport industry and will be an occasion for industry leaders from across the globe to gain insights into industry challenges and present sustainable solutions.
The logistics and transport industry is currently on the verge of a digital shakeup which will dramatically transform it. With the evolution of digitisation, platform-based business models will connect new entrants, eliminate inefficient old ones and harness the cloud.
According to a recent report by Transparency Market Research, the rising volume of global trade will increase existing supply chain pressure. The logistics services sector is estimated to reach a value of $16,445-billion (that’s one heck-of-a-lot of Rand) by 2026, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 7%.
Digitisation is needed to offer more streamlined end-to-end services in order to steer the logistics industry into the direction of becoming more resource efficient, faster, and more responsive to customer needs.
FIATA President, Babar Badat says the event facilitate discussions on issues in the logistics industry – the developments, the possibilities, new technologies and its influence on the industry. The meetings will also provide thought provoking ideas as well as opportunities for the sharing of best practices from international industry heavyweights.
“The programme will focus on new technology, disruptive innovation and how this affects the logistics and freight forwarding industry worldwide,” says Badat, adding that exciting new concepts such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, blockchain and big data all give people a closer look at life in the future.
“The rise of technology start-ups is redefining the industry’s business models, pushing traditional practitioners to rethink what they have become used to in the past and what to change in the future.”
More than 90% of experts are convinced that digitisation will add value for the international logistics industry. However, Badat says that, as with everything, digitisation comes with both pros and cons.
“Businesses have to ensure they have wireless networks and digital support infrastructures in place. Then there is cyber security and data protection to consider. Good examples of this are the recent cases of cyber pirates targeting logistics and transportation companies.”
Badat is confident that the existing supply and value chain, along with international logistics service providers, will rise to these challenges. “The logistics industry continues to prepare itself, together with its customers, for digital transformation. Some leading enterprises have been testing and commercialising various kinds of autonomous vehicles, driverless robots, blockchain platforms, digital trade documents, and so on.”
He adds that small and medium-sized enterprises with limited resources should embrace these changes instead of fearing them and advises that they start upgrading their operational systems gradually with new technology, while keeping an eye on advancements in the industry.
According to Badat, participation from Africa has been on the increase in FIATA and the global logistics and freight forwarding industry, which signals positive economic growth and increased international connectivity.
About FIATA: The International Federation of Freight Forwarders’ Associations (FIATA) is the recognised global organisation representing the interests of the freight and logistics industry worldwide. FIATA, a non-governmental organisation, today represents an industry covering approximately 40,000 forwarding & logistics companies, employing approximately 10 million people in 150 countries. For more information, visit https://fiata.com/home.html.