4 weeks ago

Breaking boundaries in the air cargo industry, ACE 2023 soared to new heights, transcending the conventional event landscape. This unique gathering in Abu Dhabi seamlessly intertwined forward-thinkers from across the air cargo logistics spectrum – be it forwarders, consolidators airlines, or GSSAs – forging bonds in a setting that radiated freshness and class.

The recent ACE Event in Abu Dhabi, hosted by Etihad Cargo, which unfolded over three days, December 4-6, saw 180 decision-makers immersed in an atmosphere of community and opportunity. This was an event of knowledge-sharing, carefully curated one on one meetings, hi-class networking, and industry recognition.

ACE 2023 delegates, including the heads of industry associations, international freight forwarders, consolidators, time-critical experts, and decision-makers from major airlines and GSSAs, had intellectual exchange and meaningful interactions. More than 90% of the ACE 2023 delegates were holding the role of Founder, CEO, President, Managing Director, Vice President, Chairperson demonstrating the high calibre of ACE participants.

The format of the ACE event is quite unique mixing conference with inspiring speakers, one-to-one scheduled business meetings and social luxury networking events from the Welcome Reception above the Formula 1 tracks on the first evening, to a sparkly Gala Dinner sponsored by Neutral Air Partner at the renowned beach club Café del Mar and ending with casual friendly goodbye drinks on the rooftop of W hotel in Yas Island.

With the ACE 1:1 scheduler allowing delegates to orchestrate appointments, the pre-arranged one-on-one meetings fostered new partnerships and the social events strengthened them! Etihad Cargo, the host airline of ACE 2023, cordially invited its current and prospective business associates to its exclusive hospitality suite, providing a discreet setting for confidential discussions.

The ACE Gala Dinner hosted the first ACE Awards, where 4 amazing industry stars were celebrated for their achievements in demonstrating remarkable leadership and innovation. Leaders to Watch: Elodie Berthonneau and Charles E. Sarkis. Visionary Vanguard: Turgut Erkeskin, and the legendary Tushar Jani, recipient of the Life-time Achievement Award.

The fantastic four ACE Air Cargo Experts, each highlighting a unique aspect of their outstanding contributions. Read more

ACE 2023 Conference was the first event to feature Turgut Erkeskin is his new role as President of FIATA, Yulia Celetaria is her new role as Head of Logistics for the pharmaceutical shipper EarlyHealth Group and Mammen Tharakan in his new role as Vice President, Investment & Partnerships of Riyadh King Salman Int’l Airport. Supported by the non-for-profit association Women in Aviation & Logistics, WAL, ACE 2023 proudly featured 26% of female speakers, more than the (too low) industry average of 16%.

Céline Hourcade, Founder and Managing Director of Change Horizon, and co-organizer of ACE, emphasized the event’s role as a powerful business enabler for companies of all sizes. Looking ahead to ACE 2024, she promised an even more opulent affair, brimming with enhanced networking opportunities and a rejuvenated conference program.

The stage is set for December 2024, where ACE will once again redefine the industry narrative.

hristos Spyrou, co-organizer behind ACE, shared his excitement about the event’s format, combining high-level panel discussions with exclusive networking and pre-scheduled meetings. “We craft a distinct approach to our events, delivering a lavish business experience for our esteemed delegates.”

Abu Dhabi Airports’ Maureen Bannerman and hosting Airline Etihad Airways’ Leonard Rodrigues delivered the opening keynotes, introducing the new Abu Dhabi state of the art Terminal 1 and welcoming a new era for the Middle East air cargo future.

Air Cargo logistics visionaries Turgut Erkeskin, President FIATA, and Glyn Hughes, Director General TIACA, transformed a fireside chat into a strategic industry foresight with their expert perspectives on the geopolitical challenges in 2024, the role of small & medium-sized forwarders, the impact of maritime on air cargo and the crucial role of sustainability.

“Tomorrow’s Air Cargo” panel discussion delved into key trends, challenges, and opportunities that will affect air cargo in the next decade. Eye-opening statistics and demographics about emerging countries, shifting powers, and the growing potential for air cargo logistics, the sustainable practices in air cargo logistics and paving the way for a greener future and the importance of SME forwarders, consolidators, and shippers for the airlines and the industry.

The “Digitalisation” discussion couldn’t be missing from an air cargo logistics conference.

Is air cargo accelerating its performance in the digital booking era? Four innovative technology firms presented their concept and how they can help air cargo logistics players and the industry. The four main booking platforms, Webcargo by Freightos, CargoAI, and Awery Aviation Software were at ACE 2023, joined by other innovative digital players: Airblox, Aircon, Logi-sys, Hans Infomatics and Conex.

With 17 GSSAs in the audience, the rather unique session dedicated to the future of GSSAs, “Critical times for GSSAs?”, has been a key highlight of the conference. The panellists discussed how the role of GSSA will evolve in the digital age and what the future ready GSSA looks like.

On its last day, ACE 2023 focused on time-critical logistics and specificities and business opportunities offered by each verticals: pharma, perishables, live animals, aerospace, automotive, events, e-commerce.

The day was kicked-off by a panel of time-critical logistics experts discussing new strategies and best practices when time is of essence: meeting emergency demands, complexity, and capacity. From expedited products to air charter solutions, on-board courier, and expedited ground handling, panelists explained how they compete against time while ensuring quality and operational excellence.

Then, delving into the intricate world of time-critical logistics across various verticals—donor hearts and CRISPR biotech, automotive mega-production chips & parts, aerospace and AOG giga engines, exploding tulips, flying dolphin tanks, Maldives ultra-rich weddings, supply chain is stressful, invigorating, and funny when presented as a keynote!

The last panel had the flashlights and Focus on the Middle East market.

The region is expected to witness a rapid increase in commercialisation and industrialisation, which would further boost the demand for air cargo products and logistics services. The panel discussed and explored the endless potential of the Middle East air cargo logistics market.

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