Business, Feature, Forwarding, Freight News, People

Young Forwarder Network to meet in person again

[ May 18, 2022   //   ]

The British International Freight Association’s Young Forwarder Network (YFN) return of face-to-face meetings for first time since they came to a halt in 2020 during the Covid pandemic.

Once again they are an integral part of BIFA’s attempts to improve the promotion of the sector, making it more attractive to younger people and providing forums from which to learn.

The YFN was launched in March 2019 to create several regional networking groups, run by young forwarders and designed to help early talent and young BIFA members develop their knowledge and professional skills, but in a more social environment.

In the YFN Midlands region, guest speakers from Kuehne+Nagel, the official logistics provider for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which will be taking place in Birmingham, gave a fascinating insight into the logistics and operational issues involved in the biggest multi-sports event in the UK since London 2012.

Andy Blundell and Alex Walton from explained the differences between deliveries and timelines to a high-profile event, compared to the day-to-day shipments involved in standard freight forwarding. They also shared their experience of event logistics from Delhi 2010, London 2012, Glasgow 2014, as well a host of other events around the world.

Meanwhile, YFN members from the Heathrow region gathered at BIFA’s headquarters and heard from Mohammed Akhlaq, chief commercial officer at dnata, who gave a presentation entitled “dnata City: from concept to reality”.

Mr Akhlaq explained how, since 2014, the dnata city development at Heathrow has replaced outdated and cramped sheds with purpose-built and tailor-made modern facilities incorporating the vision to be “better by design” and utilising cutting edge systems and technology.

YFN recently held its 75th event since it was established, 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 YFN’s Local Organising Committee wanted to have a young speaker who has progressed well; he is now ocean product manager EMEA at Toll and is responsible for the company’s ocean development in nine countries.

BIFA executive director, Carl Hobbis, who has management responsibility for the trade association’s training and development services said: “With the restart of face-to-face meetings it felt good to see some of the established young forwarders again at all three events, as well as some new faces, who have all started their careers since the pandemic.

“The world of work in 2022 is completely different to how it was pre-pandemic, but I would encourage employers to see the value in these free events and give employees time to attend. At them, young people will build knowledge, increase their confidence, learn something new and are guaranteed to bring this back to the businesses for which they work.”

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

BIFA director general, Robert Keen, adds: “We now need more BIFA members to take heed of this opportunity by encouraging attendance at YFN events; and making greater efforts to promote the freight forwarding and logistics sector in their locality.”

Details of the next event can be found at:

For further information, or to offer your services as a speaker at an event, contact Carl Hobbis

Main picture: From left to right: Nathan Ainsworth, Georgia Sumner, Andy Blundell and Alex Walton at the YFN Midlands event.

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