It is time to ponder on the development of cargo and logistics industry in retrospect to the activities of associations when much greater responsibilities lie on them with growing challenges at the backdrop and opportunities ahead. Mr Sanjiv Edward, who recently handed over charges to his successor, Mr Sebastiaan Scholte, as Chairman, TIACA, and currently Cargo Head, DIAL, summarised his tenure as an effective air cargo association leader in the world. He shared his experience and outlined guiding principles for a united voice of all trade associations concerning this industry.
“As I reflect on 26th May, 2015 the day I took over as a chairman TIACA, there were mixed feelings of taking on a new challenge and at the same time an excitement on the opportunity to contribute to the Air cargo industry,” said Mr Edward. He shared that his three beliefs about importance of associations had been reconfirmed while playing the role of TIACA Chairman. He observed:
- Associations can do what Corporations Can’t – By bringing in the element of neutrality, winning the trust of regulators and creating a unified voice from diverse industries or even making competitors working together for a common cause.
- Associations are created as not for profit but need profits to serve and sustain – The objective is undoubtedly a not for profit set-up but profits are of paramount importance to be able to invest into initiatives that serves the industry. So initiatives that earn revenue for an organization help make it more vibrant and engaged.
- Membership involvement is key to success – associations act as the catalyst to any initiative but the members need to be intensely involved, to provide meaning and direction to the working of any association. As Members, they can serve themselves at best when they serve the Association that they are part of.
Mr Edward was emphatic that an effective trade association of any nation can make real difference in all aspects pertaining to the development of air cargo industry. “Challenges can only be overcome with a collaborative approach where policy making authorities and industry stakeholders work together for larger interest of the industry as well as the country. Of late, in India too we have noticed this trend of united actions. As a result, we have achieved many remarkable targets as regard to cargo movement and capacity building,” he underscored. Mr Edward, however, was unequivocal that the industry has a long way to go to attain the procedural efficiency at par global standard. At the same time, interpretation and implementation of adopted policies need to be monitored for the larger interest of the industry and country’s economy. “For example, the Government of India has announced the policy on Air Freight Station with an objective of decongestion, capacity building and widening the catchment area (source area) of the air cargo industry. Accordingly, the ASFs should be established near the manufacturing hubs. Unfortunately, the implementation of this policy remains static so far and missing the set goal owing to lop sided initiatives,” he elaborated. The immediate past Chairman of TIACA and a seasoned air cargo practitioner also emphasised on clarity regarding transshipment policy to develop some of Indian airports as air cargo hubs in this region that includes South and South East Asian countries.
Currently, Mr Edward is the Chairman of TIACA’s Board of Advisors and concentrating on a road map that leads to consensus and united actions by all associations, agencies, policy makers and participants in the air cargo segment, both in India and the world. He also stressed on researches, data collection and training initiatives to make air cargo industry a very organised and attractive sector for the generation next.