Home » Aviation, Breaking News » ICAO sees healthy air cargo growth until 2032 if industry modernizes

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) predicts air freight volumes will grow at a healthy rate of 4.2% annually through to 2032, but only if current air cargo modernization continues to be robustly and cooperatively pursued by governments and industry.

ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu said at the organization’s latest air cargo development forum that modernization efforts must be robustly and cooperatively pursued given air cargo’s key role in driving sustainable economic growth.

“With current consumer expectations for same day or next day delivery driving a great deal of today’s growth in e-commerce and air freight, we cannot allow the speed and efficiency of commercial operations to be impeded due to network capacity shortfalls or other infrastructure-related risks,” Liu said.

In 2017, air services carried 34.6% of the total value of all goods shipped through all modes of transport, ICAO said.

Liu also highlighted the importance of the cooperation being undertaken in three areas which are essential today to the sustainability and profitability of air freight operations.

“The first of these pertains to the modernization of the regulatory framework, to help remove impediments which can hinder the flow of global trade,” she underscored. “The second is the development, expansion and modernization of aviation infrastructure. And the third key area is the deployment of emerging technologies.”

Liu noted that air transport liberalization has helped accelerate air cargo regulatory reform, and must continue, whether through bilateral or multilateral instruments. She pointed to the success of ICAO’s Air Services Negotiation (ICAN) events in this regard, and to ICAO’s current work on an international agreement to address regulatory and operational constraints.

“ICAO is developing a specific international agreement to further facilitate this dynamic,” Liu said. “Our objective is to help states modernize and harmonize their regulatory frameworks on a multinational basis.”

Concerning infrastructure gaps, Liu stressed that there is never a more pressing need for increased air transport modernization than now. She emphasized the work ICAO is undertaking, in conjunction with the World Customs Organization, to replace slow and costly paper-based legacy documentation which encumbers efficient trade, mindful of related cybersecurity issues with e-Air Waybills and similar initiatives toward greater digitization.

She likewise called on states to reinforce the regulatory foundations of global cargo operations through the implementation of ICAO economic policies, and stressed the urgent need for governments to ratify the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air (Montreal Convention), which was adopted under ICAO’s stewardship in 1999.

Photo: Konstantin von Wedelstaedt

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