Miami to permanently host large air cargo trade show 

MIAMI — Nearly 4,000 people are in Miami to attend The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) conference that runs Tuesday through Thursday, but an uninvited guest named Nicole has the potential to upset some plans.

TIACA Director General Glyn Hughes said in an interview Monday that registration for the semiannual Air Cargo Forum stands at 3,795, much higher than expected after a four-year pause due to the COVID crisis. 

More than 220 companies are exhibiting at the trade show, held at the Miami Beach Convention Center. A smaller conference held in conjunction with the event will focus on topics such as market conditions for air cargo, decarbonization, adoption of digital technologies, and the role of airports in supporting trade.

The strong participation numbers “reinforces to TIACA the value this event has, which is bringing people in the industry together to network, to exchange business ideas,” said Hughes.

The number of exhibitors and attendees will rank near the top forums ever held by TIACA, although Hughes said comparisons are difficult because the event has rotated to different locations around the world with varying degrees of ability to generate turnout. 

The schedule will change going forward, with Miami becoming the permanent home of the Air Cargo Forum beginning in 2024, officials said. Instead, the trade association will host its smaller Executive Summit in different locations and hold regional symposiums, the first of which was held this year in Amsterdam. The locations of next year’s two regional events will be announced Wednesday.

TIACA’s main office is located in Miami. Miami International Airport is a major cargo hub for trade between the U.S., Latin America, and Europe. 

“Organizing such a big exhibition every time in a different place is not only difficult to get attendance but also a big financial risk because every time you are starting again from the first time,” explained Chairman Steven Polmans, the vice president of business development and free zone regulatory affairs at Abu Dhabi Airports. “So now we are going to have a fixed location for the ACF, which will be in Miami, and our conference, which was in  Miami, will move around globally.” 

The National Hurricane Center has issued a hurricane watch for Florida’s east coast as Subtropical Storm Nicole formed in the Atlantic Ocean. The projected path shows it could make landfall as a Category 1 hurricane late Wednesday night somewhere between Miami and Brevard County, which includes Cape Canaveral on the central part of the coast. 

Monday’s 4 p.m. advisory predicted Nicole will become a hurricane while over the Bahamas on Wednesday night on its way to Florida with wind gusts up to 90 mph. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency for 34 counties due to the potential for flooding and other impacts.

Forecasts Monday night projected the most likely landfall in Brevard County, with south Florida mostly experiencing a rain event. 

TIACA is monitoring conditions but doesn’t expect the rain and wind to be disruptive at this point, especially since it hasn’t even received any communications about potential problems from the Miami Beach Convention Center, a spokeswoman said. 

Some airlines are sending precautionary emails to customers flying in the Bahamas and Florida that Nicole could affect upcoming travel. 

“At this time, there is no change in your flight plans. However, to better accommodate customers, American is offering additional flexibility that may allow you to adjust your travel plans without a fee,” American Airlines told customers with tickets Monday afternoon.

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