Digitalization, Sustainability, and Safety & Security at Top of WCS Agenda


Geneva – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced the agenda for the IATA World Cargo Symposium (WCS) which will feature specialized tracks on Digitalization, Sustainability and Safety & Security. WCS is taking place in Hong Kong (SAR), China from 12 – 14 March 2024.

“Air cargo is an unsung hero of the global economy. In normal times, it delivers some 35% of the value of goods traded across borders. In the pandemic, air cargo brought medical supplies and vaccines to where they were needed. And today it is providing a vital transport alternative for some products as Red Sea shipping lanes face geopolitical uncertainty. Air cargo’s success matters. When air cargo’s global leaders gather in Hong Kong for the IATA World Cargo Symposium, ensuring the future reliability and growth of this critical sector will be top of mind with an agenda focused on sustainability, digitalization, safety and security,” said Brendan Sullivan, IATA’s Global Head of Cargo.

Speakers & Sessions

Ronald Lam, Cathay Group Chief Executive Officer, Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General, and Marie Owens Thomsen, IATA’s SVP Sustainability and Chief Economist, will join Sullivan in setting the scene for the conference with keynote addresses. They will be followed by key air cargo experts, including:

  • Tom Owen, Director of Cargo, Cathay Pacific
  • Michael Steen, Chief Executive Officer, Atlas Air
  • Vivian Lau, Chief Executive, Jardine Aviation Services Group
  • Kirsten de Bruijn, Executive Vice President Cargo, WestJet
  • Marco Bloeman, Managing Director, Accenture and Head of Accenture Cargo

The event’s overall theme of Driving Sustainable and Inclusive Growth will be supported by three tracks:

  • Sustainability, which will include sessions on tracking progress towards net zero carbon emissions by 2050, ESG reporting, optimizing operations for environmental performance, reducing single use plastics, and circular strategies for Unit Load Device (ULD) components.
  • Digitalization, which will include sessions on data driven strategies to improve performance and reduce costs, achieving the efficiencies of OneRecord, and the potential for generative AI in air cargo.
  • Safety & Security, which will include sessions on Annex 18 Regulatory oversight of freight forwarders/handling agents for dangerous goods shipments, fire containment strategies for lithium battery shipments, ULD airworthiness, latest developments for the safety of live animal shipments, implications of an integrated risk management framework.


Inclusive strategies for managing the people needed to lead and drive the future of air cargo will be the focus of two key WCS workshops:

Additional workshops include:

FACE-UP! Air Cargo Awards 2024

The winner of the 3rd edition of the IATA FACE UP! Award will also be decided at WCS. FACE UP! is a competition for recent university graduates whose thesis is on the subject of innovation and transformation in air transport logistics.

Three finalists will be invited to present their projects during the conference. Delegates will then vote for their preferred innovation and the winners will be announced at the closing plenary of WCS.

WCS is open to accredited members of the press.

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