Highlights of the IATA World Cargo Symposium 2024

A Pacific Air Cargo 747 freighter on the ramp as day breaks.
Photo Credit: Pacific Air Cargo
Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
4 Min Read

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is gearing up for its highly anticipated World Cargo Symposium (WCS), set to take place in the bustling city of Hong Kong from March 12th to 14th, 2024.

This year’s symposium promises to be a strong event, shedding light on critical topics such as Digitalization, Sustainability, and Safety & Security within the air cargo industry.

Air Cargo in the Global Economy

Air cargo serves as a somewhat silent yet indispensable force in the global economy, contributing to the movement of approximately 35% of the total value of goods traded across borders.

Amidst the challenges posed by the pandemic, we saw air cargo emerge as a lifeline, facilitating the swift transportation of medical supplies and vaccines worldwide.

As geopolitical uncertainties now loom over Red Sea shipping lanes, air cargo once again stands poised as a crucial alternative for transporting essential products.

Pegasus Airlines aircraft with disaster relief workers in Turkey
Photo Credits: Pegasus Airlines
Etihad affiliate link banner

Keynote Speakers and Sessions

Distinguished leaders and experts in the air cargo domain will grace the WCS stage, offering valuable insights and strategic visions.

Among them are noted industry figures such as Ronald Lam, Cathay Group Chief Executive Officer, Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General, and Marie Owens Thomsen, IATA’s SVP Sustainability and Chief Economist.

Their keynote addresses will pave the way for engaging discussions on the future trajectory of the air cargo industry.

Notable Speakers

  • 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
New York City, NY, USA – Feb 24, 2017: Airport workers loading cargo to a commercial airplane in JFK ariport

Driving Sustainable Growth: Focus Tracks

The overarching theme of the WCS 2024 revolves around “Driving Sustainable and Inclusive Growth,” encapsulated through three specialized tracks:


In alignment with global efforts to combat climate change, this track delves into strategies for achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Discussions will also encompass Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting, optimization of operations for enhanced environmental performance, and innovative approaches to reduce single-use plastics.


The Digitalization track underscores the transformative power of data-driven strategies in optimizing performance and minimizing costs.

Attendees will explore the potential of OneRecord for streamlining operations and delve into the realm of generative AI’s impact on air cargo logistics.

Menzies Aviation ground staff around airplane.
Photo Credit: Menzies Aviation

Safety & Security

Safety remains paramount in the air cargo industry, making this track particularly pertinent.

Sessions will cover regulatory oversight, fire containment strategies for lithium battery shipments, ULD airworthiness, and advancements in live animal shipment safety protocols.


WCS attendees will have the opportunity to participate in enriching workshops designed to foster talent development and operational excellence. Key workshops include:

Future Air Cargo Executives Summit (FACES): Cultivating the next generation of air cargo leaders.

Competency-Based Training and Assessment Center (CBTA Center): Leveraging competency-based training to enhance workplace safety and performance.

IATA Center of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) Programs: Improving performance across key market segments such as Pharma, Live Animals, Lithium Batteries, and Fresh produce.

FACE-UP! Air Cargo Awards 2024

The WCS will culminate with the prestigious FACE UP! Air Cargo Awards, celebrating innovation and transformation in air transport logistics.

University graduates showcasing groundbreaking projects will vie for the coveted title, highlighting the industry’s commitment to fostering innovation.

For further details and registration options view the WCS program.

Did you know AviationSource has two newsletters? One covers the general news and analysis of the industry as a whole, and the other to do with emergencies that take place throughout the year! To subscribe to our General News Newsletter, CLICK HERE!
To subscribe to our Emergencies, Accidents & Incidents Newsletter, CLICK HERE!

Click the photo to join our WhatsApp channel so then you can stay up to date with everything going on in the aviation industry!

Set for March 12-14 in Hong Kong, the IATA World Cargo Symposium will focus on Digitalization, Sustainability, and Safety & Security in the air cargo industry.
You Might Also Enjoy