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26 Mar 2015 09:30

WCA, the world’s largest and most powerful network of independent freight forwarders, with over 5,700 member offices based in 191 countries around the world, has announced its annual WCA Global Conference in 2016 will be held in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  

Expected to attract attendance of around 2,500 freight forwarder delegates, the event will be held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) between 10th and 16th March 2016.

Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, Acting Chief Executive Officer at ADNEC said “The WCA event will prove a significant value addition to ADNEC’s conference portfolio and we are committed to providing all necessary support to ensure the success of this key global event. ADNEC’s latest strategy places significant emphasis on the conference aspect of our business. To deliver this objective, we are proactively developing our industry network and bringing in a larger canvas of world-class conferences to the capital city of Abu Dhabi.”

Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the UAE, has been the Official Cargo Airline Partner for the WCA conference for the last four years, and has played a key role in supporting the organisers in their decision to bring the conference to its home base of Abu Dhabi.

David Kerr, Vice President of Etihad Cargo, said: “We are proud to see this global industry networking conference coming to our home base in Abu Dhabi, and look forward to working closely with ADNEC and other event partners to ensure the many thousands of delegates who will visit the conference are provided with a tremendous experience.

“We have worked closely alongside the WCA for the past four years and it has been a beneficial partnership as we have grown our cargo operations considerably during that time, with their close knowledge of local markets in key markets around the world proving invaluable.”

WCA President, David Yokeum, added: “We are delighted to bring the WCA Conference Week to the Middle East for the first time. This event is now firmly established as the premier networking and business-generating opportunity for independent freight forwarders and provides a platform for tens of millions of dollars of new business.

“Thanks to the innovation and dedication of the Etihad Cargo management, we have jointly established a number of highly successful programs that are already proving hugely beneficial to both Etihad Cargo and our global membership of over 5,700 freight forwarder offices around the world.”

Etihad Cargo’s total uplift during the past year exceeded 570,000 tonnes, a 17 per cent increase on 2013. The division secured over US$1.1 billion in revenue and was a strong supporting factor to the aviation group’s activities during the year.

The cargo division operates a fleet of 10 freighter aircraft that provide main deck capacity to 13 freighter-only destinations that include cities such as Bogota, Chittagong, Djibouti, Dubai World Central, Eldoret, Guangzhou, Hanoi, Houston, Kabul, Miami, Quito, Sharjah and Viracopos.

Etihad Cargo also enhanced its global reach during 2014 by offering lower deck capacity on 10 new passenger destinations launched across Etihad Airways’ fast growing global network. These included destinations such as Medina in Saudi Arabia, Jaipur in India, Zurich in Switzerland, Yerevan in Armenia, Rome in Italy, Perth in Australia, Phuket in Thailand plus LA, Dallas and San Francisco in the USA, bringing to nearly 100, the total number of passenger destinations on which cargo services are currently provided.

Additional lower deck capacity added during 2015 includes Kolkata, which launched on the 15 February, with further passenger destinations scheduled to be launched during the year including Madrid, Edinburgh, Tbilisi, Baku, Hong Kong, Entebbe and Dar es Salaam.

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