Inaugural e-commerce conference examines logistics in the digital age
WCA hosted its first-ever annual e-commerce conference, examining logistics in the digital age, earlier this month in Miami, USA.
Over 150 delegates from across the global air cargo industry, including TIACA’s Vladimir Zubkov, took part in the three-day event, which featured a seminar and workshop programme looking at topics ranging from cross-border commerce to compliance and Customs regulations.
“Not only through my own impressions, but judging by the reaction of the participants, the topics were of great practical value,” said Zubkov.
“Some emerged as completely new for any conference agenda, like the ‘Buytasker’.
“The X-Border classification tool, integrated technology platform, e-commerce certification of the supply chain participants — just a few more to name — topics which led to a vivid exchange.”
“David Yokeum, Dan March, and Alex Allen, who designed the conference should be not only congratulated on the success of it, but also challenged to share more of this material with other members of TIACA.”
Dan March, CEO of WCA Family, said:
“It’s the phrase that is on everyone’s lips right now and is possibly the biggest challenge, but also the greatest opportunity facing the air cargo industry. The term e-Commerce is all encompassing and can mean very different things to different sectors of industry, trade, and transport.
“The world has changed rapidly over the past decade with the rise of technology-driven eRetailers changing the way the world’s consumers find and purchase goods and services. Originally driven by domestic demand, we have, in the past few years, seen an explosion in demand for international cross-border B2B, B2C, and even C2C shipments.
“Alongside industry giants such as Amazon, Alibaba Group, JD.com etc., there are now many thousands of SME retailers and producers using the internet as a tool to expand their customer base in other countries. From consumers buying personal goods from the comfort of their homes, through to companies making significant procurements of goods and raw materials direct from their computer screens, the growth in cross-border website-driven trade continues to accelerate.
“The air cargo industry has been a little slow in reacting to these new demands and the paradigm shift in consumer and business models. The threat all players in the traditional logistics industry posed by companies such as Amazon is obvious and real, but finding solutions to meet these threats head-on and provide integrated solutions that meet the new standards being set in terms of delivery times, reliability, transparency, and efficiency is a big challenge.
“In early July WCA held its first dedicated e-commerce conference in Miami. This brought together 150 logistics providers that are already active in the e-commerce logistics sector and are members of the WCA eCommerce network, alongside international eRetaliers, Customs and Compliance specialists, some airlines, technology providers and also representation from TIACA.
“Through a two-day agenda of dedicated workshops and seminars, delegates were provided with valuable in-depth information on how to penetrate and succeed in cross-border e-commerce and how to overcome challenges such as licensing, compliance and customs regulations. Other sessions gave real-life case studies of how to win contracts with Amazon and other large eRetailers and innovative new technology solutions that can be plugged in to provide some of the transparency and efficiencies that are vital for success.
“The Q&A sessions at the end of each workshop were lively and energetic, reflecting the real thirst for knowledge and information. The interaction between eRetailers and logistics providers was especially interesting and productive as the expectations and demands of the online retailers became clearer to the delegates.
“What was even more satisfying was seeing groups of eRetailers, logistics companies, and technology providers conducting their own meetings in the bars and coffee shops following the end of the workshop sessions, working on real solutions — a number of logistics contracts were even signed by the end of the conference. It is also encouraging to see that a number of airlines are also beginning to think about innovative new solutions to meet the demands of this cross-border trade, rather than trying to shoehorn e-commerce trade into their current service model.
“The traditional freight industry has a long-way to go to even begin to capitalise on the great opportunities that cross-border e-commerce is providing, but from the energy demonstrated in Miami by many players in the logistics chain, there is a fighting chance that we can work together to create the tools, solutions and seamless transport options that online shippers and buyers crave.”