IFCBAA’S 2024 National Conference brought freight forwarders and customs brokers together for two days of dialogue on the emerging opportunities and risks for Australia’s international trade.

This year’s conference in Cairns drew a record turnout of almost 290 delegates representing industry, government and academia. Robust Q&A sessions were a platform for participants to guide discussions, raise concerns have their voices heard.

The program was packed with economic outlooks, air cargo updates, maritime insights and important discussions around cyber security, workforce shortages and leadership.  

Senator for Queensland Nita Green opened the conference on Friday 24 May with an update on the state’s agenda for trade diversification, expansion and simplification.

She said some of the most important trade decisions are made outside of offices in Canberra.

“It’s a whole of nation activity, and when you are talking about trade and the way we engage with it people in this room are some of its key enablers,” she said.

“Australia is a powerhouse trading nation; our total two-way trade hit a record $1.2 trillion last financial year.

“Trade remains an important contributor to our stability and resilience in an increasingly complex world.”

Australian Border Force Commissioner Michael Outram outlined ABF efforts to create the right outcomes for trade under the future regulatory interface with industry.

“Efficiency in supply chains is not just about moving good faster; it’s about fostering trust and collaboration at every link,” he said.

“The facilitation of trust goes hand in hand with greater trust in the system between the ABF and industry. Goods can move across the border more quickly and simply and, of course, reliably, and we know more about the players right across levels of supply chains, including your role and what’s actually in cargo.

“I think the future is very bright for trade and the border as a strategic national asset.”

The agenda was punctuated with networking opportunities, laps of the trade hall, visits to the coffee cart and, importantly, lively social functions such as welcome drinks at the waterfront brewery and a gala dinner and awards night.

DCN will provide full coverage of the IFCBAA 2024 National Conference in the magazine.