December 12 - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has backed a new network representing the interests of the independent freight forwarding sector - the Elite Association of Logistics Networks (ELITE).

ELITE will act as the voice of small and medium-sized independent cargo agents and will engage with industry associations, regulators and government agencies.

Nine global logistics networks have been accepted as founding members: Global Logistics Network (GLN), Global Project Logistics Network (GPLN), Lognet Global, Project Cargo Network (PCN), Time Critical Logistics Alliance (TCLA), Universal Freight Organisation (UFO), WCA Family of Logistics Networks (WCAF), WCA Projects Network (WCAPN), and Worldwide Partners Alliance (WPA).

The new ELITE network comprises 3,550 freight forwarding companies around the world, employing over 140,000 staff from 7,000 offices in 188 countries.

Des Vertannes, head of global cargo, IATA, commented: "ELITE has the potential to become a powerful and potent voice for freight forwarders around the world.

"The size and quality of the networks within ELITE ensures that their views will be heard and taken seriously by associations, regulators and carriers," he added.

In a statement from the ELITE founding members, the new grouping provides the logistics industry with a bona-fide network that is differentiated from the growing number of unregulated forwarder associations appearing worldwide: "By applying strict membership criteria we are able to provide the industry with a 'seal of quality' ensuring that each network only operates to the highest standards," the statement read.