FITA is one of the MEGA resource web sites for international trade. It’s been around since 1984, almost 30 years. It was originally started to link all the various associations that are somehow involved in world trade in one place. There are over 450,000 such organizations! The term ” link” may be somewhat euphemistic and misleading. Notwithstanding, Barney Lehrer, head honcho of FITA for 20 years, reports that 3,000 folks come to the site everyday, which ain’t bad at all!
According to their website, these associations include “manufacturers, trading companies, contractors, freight forwarders, custom house brokers, airlines, shipping companies, port authorities, banks, insurance brokers, (trade) associations and a wide range of (other) service providers…” Wow, that is a lot of freakin’ associations. Just about covers anybody who’s anybody in the world trade arena.
So what does the FITA site have to offer? Well, you name it. Think of it as a huge, electronic social worker who attempts to match existing resources to a client’s particular need(s). Or, if you like, the grand central station of links that are related to international trade. But how do you find what you’re looking for (easily and quickly) and not get lost along the way?
Well, there is an array of links on the left hand site: 25 – but who’s counting? One called “Really Useful Links” takes you to a page of 30 other links. BTW, maybe there should be a heading entitled “Really Irrelevant Links”, but I do digress. Anyway, the – let’s call it “parent page” with 30 links (25 for the grandparent) takes you to other “child” pages with from about 4 to 50 (although I confess I didn’t follow them all) pages with links. Well, of course there are grandchildren and great grandchildren… but you get the picture: one super huge (occasionally somewhat happy) International Trade Family.
Is there a better way to organize hundreds of thousands of links and organizations and people and reports and products and services? Nothing comes to mind. Keeping track of all those links and making sure they are constantly updated is no small task. Accolades go to Barney Lehrer, a former professional musician, for bringing harmony and grace to the occasionally chaotic trade world.
Big News: He and his partner have recently launched a new endeavor – one designed to formulate a virtual trade community – at http://www.globaltrade.net/ It looks pretty cool. I haven’t dug into it yet but I promise I will soon and let you know what it is all about. Then again, you don’t have to wait… go there now and check it out for yourself.