A total of 1,408 delegates from 156 countries around the world attended WCA World's first Worldwide Virtual Conference from 7-11 December â€“ confirming it as the largest ever online networking event in the freight forwarding industry.
To meet the challenges its member companies faced in developing business and creating vital partnerships during the Covid-19 pandemic, WCA designed and built its own proprietary virtual conference environment. The feature-rich platform comprised an exhibition hall with interactive booths, a networking lounge, icebreaker networking events and a sophisticated one-on-one meeting scheduler that allowed delegates to conduct up to 40 individual pre-arranged meetings per day.
Well over 20,000 individual pre-scheduled 1-on-1 video meetings between member companies were successfully conducted during the week. In addition, over 1,000 video meetings were held in the exhibition booths and some 3,100 business-to-business interactions occurred in the networking lounge.
Chief Executive officer, Dan March, said: "Putting on this event was a major challenge. At the busiest times the virtual conference platform had some 300 individual video meetings happening concurrently, alongside numerous real-time conversations in the networking lounge.
"The social networking events also gave delegates the opportunity to meet potential new partners and explore new trade lanes in a fun, interactive format. Due to the time differences the conference ran 24-hours per day, and I am delighted that the feedback from delegates has been overwhelmingly positive.
"During these times where global travel is close to impossible it was fantastic to see the energy, innovation and adaptability of WCA World members and I am proud that they continue to play such a vital role in ensuring that global trade and vital supplies continue to be efficiently delivered around the world."
WCA Chairman, David Yokeum, added: "We identified early in 2020 that the global conferences, which play such a vital role in developing business for our members, would not happen this year and we would have to create something brand new. We found that third party software options, such as Zoom, could not offer the functionality and full experience we wanted to provide, so we designed and built our own system. I am delighted that this hard work paid off and we managed to provide an environment where a huge amount of business was generated."
WCA plans to hold its next virtual conference in March 2021, which will be open to all independent logistics companies, alongside vendors such as airlines, IT companies, charter brokers and ports/airports. Jointly co-hosted and organized with the China International Freight Forwardersâ€™ Association, the Sino-International Virtual Conference has an emphasis on trade between China and the rest of the world and is expected to attract over 800 delegates.