Nordic Air Cargo Symposium is a must for Nordic cargo managers

Tomorrow (22APR24), the Nordic Air Cargo Symposium will be kicked off. This time, it is being held in Sweden’s capital city, Stockholm. The program is colorful and diverse, and offers participants trend analyzes on the market development of air freight in the Nordic countries. As in previous years, the Nordic trade show is organized by the Swedish agency, Euroavia. CargoForwarder Global (CFG) spoke to its owner, Lars-Gunnar Comen (LGC), about the upcoming event in Stockholm and what he sees as the highlights:

Swedish national Lars-Gunnar Comen is one of the most experienced organizers of cargo and transport events worldwide – picture: LGC

CFG: Lars-Gunnar, all items listed on the agenda are certainly interesting. But which topics and sessions should participants not miss?

LGC: The first Nordic Air Cargo event was launched in 2003. More importantly, the conference next week will be my company’s 50th event since start 1999, when we arranged our first conference ‘Air Cargo in a New Millennium’ at Sky City, Stockholm-Arlanda Airport. Hard to believe that we have organized 50 events in 25 years! We have done conferences in 17 different cities in 13 countries in Europe, Middle East, CIS, Africa, and Asia.

One of the highlights of the Stockholm event will be the Roundtable discussion with the two new cargo heads of SAS Cargo, Magnus Ek, and Finnair Cargo, Gabriela Hiitola, moderated by Steven Polmans, Chairman, TIACA. Many delegates are keen on learning more about the future of our Nordic flag carriers.

CFG: Crises in the world are increasing rapidly, as Russia’s war against Ukraine, or Iran’s recent attack on Israel, show. Will the supply chain disruptions for Scandinavia, caused by these conflicts, be discussed in depth at the Symposium?

LGC: Yes, no doubt that we are experiencing highly turbulent times in general, including market and operational conditions for air carriers, forwarders, and supply chain giants. Disruption seems to be the new normal! We do not have any specific session for ‘supply chain disruptions’. However, many sessions will discuss opportunities and challenges in specific contexts. I am sure that our speakers will assess various aspects of disruption in the air freight supply chain.

CFG: Jonas Abrahamsson, CEO of Airport Operator Swedavia, delivers a keynote. Swedavia engages together with roughly twenty other airports in the Nordics, Baltic Region, and Germany, in pushing the use of Hydrogen-powered airport operation up front. Surprisingly, this groundbreaking initiative is not part of the Symposium’s program. Why?

LGC: Swedavia is our host sponsor, and we are indeed very grateful for their support. We do not really dictate what they should focus on. They have a great speaker in the session ‘Sustainability – The Way Forward’. Maybe they will highlight hydrogen powered airport operations. Wait and see. Will be a cliffhanger for you!

CFG: Another phenomenon is that low-cost carriers such as Norse or Norwegian, to name just two candidates, are fast gaining traction and market share, also in cargo. They are not part of your program. Any reason?

LGC: Number of potential interesting topics are very high. We cannot include all the interesting speakers you have in mind. The main cargo trade lane for Norse today, and Norwegian when they operated Trans-Atlantic flights, was salmon from Norway to the United States. Seems like Cargo Manager of Norse Atlantic Airways will attend our conference. Catch him!

CFG: Although the three Baltic countries are not precisely part of the Nordic region, their aviation industry is developing fast, as are their cargo activities. Wouldn’t it be an option worth considering to focus on their air traffic and cargo ascent in future Nordic Symposiums?

LGC: We have discussed the Baltic air cargo market in the past. Currently, due to the geopolitical situation, air cargo has been down in the Baltic states. One reason is that, until 2022, both Riga and Tallinn had quite a lot of transfer cargo into the Russian Federation. Gone. I am glad that we will have delegates coming from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. They are our dearest friends and maybe we will do a panel on the Baltics again in coming years.

CFG: Looking at the many topics listed on the Symposium’s schedule: What is your personal highlight that you are most looking forward to?

LGC: Well, as already mentioned – the Nordic cargo heads roundtable. Furthermore, I look forward to learning from our speakers in ‘Trend Spotting Nordic Air Cargo Market’. Frank Van Gelder will set up a really cool session on ‘The New Life Science Horizon’. All sessions will be really interesting. It is not too late to register. Go to https://www.nordicaircargosymposium.com

CFG: Finally: When will the next Nordic Air Cargo Symposium be held and where?

LGC: We do not yet have the dates set for the Nordic Air Cargo Symposium 2025. Our highly successful event, World Cargo Summit, will be organized next year in Belgium! January 27-29, 2025, hosted by Ostend-Bruges International Airport.

CFG: Lars-Gunnar, thank you for this interview and good success with the event.

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