June 13, 2014: Today, CLECAT and FIATA, representing freight forwarders on the European and international level, presented their views on the "Role of freight forwarders and logistics in intermodal transport chains" at a workshop of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) hosted by the Government of Belgium in Brussels.
CLECAT and FIATA thanked UNECE for hosting a debate on freight logistics, a sector providing jobs to millions and crucial in terms of added value. Logistics has a key role to play in increasing the competitiveness of states' economies in a sustainable way.
CLECAT and FIATA have pointed out to authorities that logistics must be seen as a business: a really important one for their counties' prosperity. The associations believe logistics should figure more prominently on the political agenda. Ensuring convenient access to global trade by proving the indispensable logistics connectivity is the best political investment policy makers can make in this day and age.
CLECAT and FIATA recognise the importance of transport policy in providing the appropriate regulatory framework, adequate investments in transport infrastructure and ensuring that the required skills are available. So long as these imperatives are properly satisfied transport policy can provide a fair base for efficient, sustainable, safe and secure freight transport and mobility.
Nicolette van der Jagt, Director General of CLECAT, noted that many policies – such as those of modal shift in the EU - have demonstrated that efforts trying to artificially force change by placing restrictions or penalties will inevitably fail and become ineffective, whilst providing incentives and facilitating the move to more sustainable options (e.g. through the removal of regulatory barriers) will be a success.
Freight transport policy should make the industry more attractive for younger people and people re- entering the labour market. This awareness raising and the launch of capacity building campaigns can help improve the image of logistics, a sector always failing to reap the recognition of its merits.
Marco Sorgetti, Director General of FIATA noted that "a lack of investments often appears to be the reason for insufficient progress" and "logistics makes prosperity possible through trade and this is a convenient truth to remember". He eyes the Sustainable Development Goals under the post-2015 agenda as a unique opportunity to promote logistics connectivity among the priorities for sustainable development.
"A rare opportunity for governments to seize", Sorgetti said, and "FIATA will help policymakers who try to remove regulatory barriers, and make appropriate investments in transport infrastructure and trade facilitation. FIATA has instruments both in facilitation tools and in training programmes that can be readily deployed." The FIATA DG also noted that "the WTO agreement on trade facilitation has the potential to give international trade a boost and FIATA is anticipating on its implementation by making all its resources available."
Ms van der Jagt concluded that "a continued commitment of our sector to work in partnership with governments and civil society will lead to tangible benefits for the continued economic and sustainable growth."