Track shipments

The network of young freight forwarders is back on track

After coming to a halt in 2020 due to Covid-19, there has been a welcome return to face-to-face meetings for the Young Forwarder Network (YFN) set up by the British International Freight Association in 2019.

As in nature, spring has seen a rebirth of these valuable networking events as part of a regular calendar of events which is an integral part of BIFA’s attempts to improve the promotion of the sector, to make it more attractive to young people and to provide forums from which to learn.

In the YFN Midlands region, guest speakers from Kuehne+Nagel, the Official Logistics Provider for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, provided fascinating insight into the logistical and operational issues surrounding the biggest multi-sport event in UK from London 2012.

Andy Blundell and Alex Walton of Kuehne+Nagel explained the differences between the deliveries and lead times of a large event, compared to the daily shipments involved in standard freight transport. They also shared their experience of event logistics from Delhi 2010, London 2012, Glasgow 2014, as well as many other events around the world.

Meanwhile, YFN members in the Heathrow area gathered at BIFA headquarters and heard from Mohammed Akhlaq, Commercial Director at dnata, who gave a presentation titled ‘dnata City: From Concept to Reality’.

Mr Akhlaq explained how, since 2014, dnata’s city development at Heathrow has replaced outdated and cramped hangars with purpose-built, bespoke modern facilities incorporating the vision of being ‘better by design’ and using systems and advanced technologies.

Left to right: Sophie Hammond, Mathew Harvey, Mohammed Akhlaq, Bobbie Costin and Thomas Frost at the YFN Heathrow event.

Last week saw the 75th YFN event since its inception, with an in-person occasion in Manchester, featuring Tom Turner, the first-ever winner of the BIFA Freight Service Awards Apprentice of the Year four years ago, as guest speaker.

The local YFN Organizing Committee wanted to have a young speaker who has progressed well and Tom has just done that, he is now EMEA Ocean Product Manager at Toll and is responsible for the company’s ocean development in nine countries.
Carl Hobbis, executive director of BIFA, who is responsible for running the trade association’s training and development services, said: “With the restart of face-to-face meetings, it feels good to see some of the young people again. established freight forwarders at all three events, as well as a few new faces, all of whom have started their careers since the pandemic.

“The world of work in 2022 is completely different than it was before the pandemic, but I would encourage employers to see the value in these free events and give employees time to attend. At home, young people will gain knowledge, increase their confidence, learn something new and be guaranteed to bring this back to the companies they work for.

BIFA took the YFN online in May 2020 and holds popular virtual YFN events every two weeks. These will continue, but will change to every three weeks now that face-to-face regional events have restarted.

Robert Keen, BIFA Chief Executive adds: “We now need more BIFA members to seize this opportunity by encouraging attendance at YFN events; and increase their efforts to promote the freight forwarding and logistics industry in their locality.
Source: British International Greight Association