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Editorial: FIATA Makes Right Noise, Highlights Disruptions to Global Trade in Annual Event

Image Courtesy: Shipspotting.com

Port Wings, 9 October 2019:

The International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) organized its annual event in South Africa this time. And, FIATA which was founded in Vienna, Austria in 1926 to present the case of freight forwarders to decision makers, once again used the Cape Town podium to send the message more loudly than ever.

According to Babar Badat, president of FIATA), there are major disruptions in global trade due to factors like (US-China) trade wars and Brexit.

He opined that protectionism is occurring and the premise of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is being challenged. “These are times with challenges we have never seen before. It means the reduction of trade and our industry is affected in the front line,” said the FIATA head.

He said for FIATA – the largest organisation in the logistics and supply chain industry in the world – seamless connectivity is very important. “Governments need to put investment into infrastructure and the private sector must have good connections with governments and associations to create seamless trade connections,” said Badat.

Basil Pietersen, chair of the South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF) agreed that no one can do anything on his or her own in this industry. “We have to come together to build this industry. If we do not do that, all the hard work we have done over the years would have been for nothing,” said Pietersen. “The industry is changing and market dynamics all over the world calls for rethinking due to technology,” he added.

As part of the annual event, FIATA released an updated version of the FIATA Model Rules for Freight Forwarding Services. This revision took into account various changes in the business landscape and legal requirement of the logistics and freight forwarding industry in the past 20 years.

The first FIATA Model Rules, formulated in 1996, were a critical benchmark for global freight forwarding associations and enterprises to draft their own trading terms and conditions.  The Model Rules even affected national laws governing the industry in some countries. The Rules stipulated general principles on the rights, obligations and liabilities of forwarders and their customers, whether the forwarder was acting as the shipper’s agent or as contractual carrier. In particular, they cover the basis of liability, exclusions and monetary limits of liability for forwarders.

With disruptions beyond the control of freight forwarding community is increasing day by day due to various factors including subtle trade wars between developed and developing economies, FIATA has a mandate to secure the future of the community, which is regarded as wheel of global economy.


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