News & Analysis

Why Hong Kong got Fresh first

Andrea Gruber, Head of Special Cargo at IATA, on why Hong Kong was CEIV Fresh’s launch market

Why did IATA design CEIV Fresh?

CEIV Fresh was developed in response to growing market demand and the increasing importance of perishable shipments to the air cargo industry, as well as the positive experience from the existing IATA CEIV programmes – CEIV Pharma, CEIV Cargo Security and CEIV Live Animals.

Industry players had been calling on the air cargo industry to improve their performance in the transportation of perishable shipments and specifically for IATA to step in to ensure industry standardisation.

Air transport of perishable products continues to grow annually in line with consumer expectations and demand. Food loss or waste takes place at different links in the supply chain, though it predominantly happens during production and with the consumer. But as an industry, we have a responsibility to ensure that global standards and best practices are in place to ensure perishable products are handled and transported appropriately to avoid product loss while in the supply chain.

What has been the market response to the existing CEIV programmes?

Continuous improvement is an important driver, and so far all the organisations that became CEIV Pharma certified three years ago have started recertification, as they can see the programme’s long-term benefits. It is not just a certificate, it is a mindset and a way of raising the bar for air freight processes and quality of service.

Subsequently, IATA started looking at the handling and transport requirements of non-pharma perishable products. Our initial research showed that requirements here will be driven more by industry stakeholders, as opposed to the regulatory requirements in the pharma or cargo security sectors.

The CEIV Fresh programme elevates the level of competency and capacity in handling and transport. It reinforces training, efficient processes and operations in compliance with international standards across the supply chain.

Since CEIV Fresh was launched at the IATA World Cargo Symposium in March, there has been more companies interested in getting involved in the programme.

Why was Hong Kong chosen as the first airport community for CEIV Fresh?

The Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) reached out to IATA to get involved with its community. Consequently, IATA recognised Cathay Pacific, Cathay Pacific Services Ltd (CPSL) and Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Ltd (HACTL) as key players in piloting the CEIV Fresh programme.

Additionally, Hong Kong was a good opportunity to test the feasibility of the programme, especially as Asia Pacific remains a large perishables market.