THE INTERNATIONAL Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations, FIATA, is holding its annual FIATA Week (formerly called the HQ Meeting) next week, on 22-25 March.

This year, delegates will be able to meet online and engage in what FIATA said would be a “different, yet complete experience”.

All FIATA institutes, advisory bodies and regions will have set times to establish their annual work strategy for the year to come. Over the week, there will be other online events that will highlight achievements, build capacity in members, and there will be the opportunity for members to listen to key experts speak on important topics.

Rigby Cooke Lawyers partner Andrew Hudson is the International Forwarders and Customs Brokers Association of Australia delegate to the FIATA Advisory Body on Legal Matters (ABLM). He said while online engagement is the current reality, there is no real substitute for direct personal engagement at sessions with the important discussions that operate in the margins of such event.

“The FIATA Week provides for the working bodies to meet and discuss the development of short and medium term strategic options and also incorporate a number of capacity building and high-level dialogues such as the keynote presentation regarding the work of the US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) during the week,” Mr Hudson said.

“The presentation by the FMC will be of immediate significance to industry in our region as IFCBAA works to bring some regulatory clarity to the operations in the international supply chain and provide a voice to the service providers in that supply chain particularly as to demurrage and detention charges.”

As the ABLM delegate from IFCBAA at the FIATA Week, Mr Hudson said he is looking forward to e-meeting colleagues to set the agenda and direction for the coming year.

“In recent times, ABLM and Sea Cargo Working Group (WG Sea) have worked to publish papers providing guidance on dealing with abandoned goods across jurisdictions warning members of the attempts by NVOCCs to spread liability for shipping charges and other costs to third parties who were not party to shipping contracts by the use of a very broad definition of ‘merchant’ and ongoing work supporting the efforts of the FMC to place some form of best practice around detention and demurrage charges claimed by shipping lines on the return of empty containers beyond permitted ‘free time’,” he said.

“No doubt, the ABLM will also wish to also engage on international work around vulnerabilities in the supply chain and legal measures which may be adopted to manage those vulnerabilities.”

Because IFCBAA is the sole FIATA representative association for Australia, it can connect with people in a large global platform that is relevant on the international stage.

“With representation from 150 countries there is great value which IFCBAA advocates for service providers in the international trade logistics and supply chain management industries which no other association has the ability to provide within Australia,” Mr Hudson said.

“With links to the World Trade Organization and the World Customs Organization (WCO). FIATA in conjunction with IFCBAA plays an important role in policy making, which is of great importance to the industry as a whole.”

In addition to Mr Hudson, several other IFCBAA figures are involved in FIATA bodies:

  • Paul Golland, IFCBAA chair, is the chair of the Advisory Body on International Affairs (ABIIA)
  • Paul Damkjaer, IFCBAA CEO, is the IFCBAA delegate to the Customs Affairs Institute (CAI) and Sea Cargo Working Group (WG Sea)
  • Stephen Morris is a delegate on the FIATA World Congress Committee.