Air Cargo Newsdesk

Accounts show TIACA and its Air Cargo Forum are a spent force

Accounts show TIACA and its Air Cargo Forum are a spent force

AIR cargo industry body The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) could be on the brink of a financial collapse, confidential figures sent to reveal.

The airfreight industry body, which has presented the biennial Air Cargo Forum (ACF) event for almost 60 years, has seen its primary revenue source decline so dramatically in recent years that an executive summary attached to the US-based organisation’s latest financial report declares that, as currently projected, “the 2018 ACF will not provide enough cash to sustain operations in 2019.”

The confidential financial statement estimates that a US$400,000 improvement in cash is necessary “by year-end 2018” to remain cash positive through 2019, writes Nigel Tomkins.

TIACA says it represents the interests of, amongst others, freight forwarders, airports, airlines, ground handlers, shippers, road hauliers, sales agencies, cargo containers and equipment companies and technology businesses focused on the air cargo industry.

Its performance in 2017 – the anticipated loss-making middle year between biennial ACF events – was clearly below expectations, according to the report, which was published internally in October last year.

“The projected result for the year (2017, eight months factual, four months projected) is a loss of $0.59 million,” a summary states.

“Revenue for 2017 is projected to fall short by $263,000 due to lower memberships, lower sponsorship, and the cancellation of a proposed training event,” it adds.

TIACA’s flagship event, the Air Cargo Forum – which takes place every two years, each time at a different global air cargo hub location – has been in serious decline in recent years, the figures show.

Revenue projections for this year’s Toronto, Canada event anticipate a $150,00 decline on the previous (Paris) show – because of “weakening exhibition stand sales and attendance revenues”.

ACF in Paris brought in disappointing revenues of $1.96 million, whilst Toronto is likely to see this to decline sharply to $1.29 million, TIACA predicts.

TIACA’s cash has been declining since 2012

TIACA’s cash has been declining since 2012 and, since then, successive ACF events at Seoul in 2014 and Paris in 2016 were “underperforming” says the report.

According to the confidential report, aimed at TIACA board members only, the breakdown of ACF event revenue performances since Kuala Lumpur (2008) show a pronounced roller-coaster swing in the 10 events since the peak at $2.29 million in Amsterdam (2010) and the $2.66 million of Atlanta (2012), before a marked slowdown to $1.83 million (Seoul, 2014), to $1.95 million (Paris, 2016) and, finally, to $1.29 million projected for Toronto (2018).

TIACA, which already accepts that the number of large exhibitors have already advised they will not be attending the October 16-18 Toronto event, the 29thof its kind, is still claiming there will be more than 300 exhibitors in Ontario.

Typically, its website is offering 18 square-metre ‘executive suites’ for prices in the region of  $13,490 for Toronto.

Bigger exhibition stand prices are deliberately not listed on the association’s website. Neither is there a list of pre-booked exhibitors – except for a line-up of those media companies receiving free stands and event access, in return for free, positive publicity.

None of those media organisations are likely to be publishing this story.

EDITOR’S NOTE: sent this story to TIACA and its representatives, giving 24 hours’ notice, seeking approval of the accuracy of the details in it. Below is the response from Sebastiaan Scholte, the current chairman of TIACA and chief executive of Jan de Rijk Logistics:

“The air cargo industry has been addressing more diverse and complex issues in recent years, which have led to a significant increase in the number of professional events. This, in turn, has led to a decline in visitors and exhibitors to several shows, including those of TIACA. While this is not the only source of financing of the Association, it does affect the bottom line of any event. However, TIACA has enough cash reserves to ensure the continued viability of the Association, and the leadership team has put a series of measures in place to ensure its long-term health. A think-tank has been working with the Board and Secretariat to adjust costs and to establish new revenue streams.

“Earlier this year we made these measures known to the members of the Association. We shared the new value proposition and we announced a new vision and mission for the Association, which reflects this work. We will be launching a fresh logo and new web sites to underpin our vision for the future in the next few days. TIACA is proud to be the only organisation representing all parts of the global air cargo supply chain, and we are confident that we are building a solid future for the Association so that we can continue to represent, support, inform, and connect our members and the industry at large.”

Read more stories about TIACA here

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