is a movement or perhaps a rush that could also be described as a trend
in air cargo today – to go out and charge a rate and promise service
that is not sustainable.
“I have always believed that delivering
value for money is the true path to building a world-class, reliable and
respected air cargo service,” Jan Krems, President United Cargo
“Every member of our team shares the
same spirit, and the result is that today United Cargo is a first-class
operation in every aspect of our business from top to bottom.
“Despite all the talk about competition
and capacity, we have grown our business steadily throughout 2017. We’ve
reached the point that when all the year’s results are in, we expect
to be able to state, for the first time since 2012, that United Cargo
is a billion dollar transportation enterprise.
“When it comes to delivering value
for money, we are leaving the temptation to chase the low hanging fruit
in air cargo to others.”
A Very Good Year
That’s the way it goes with Jan Krems.
He is all about business with a smile and a team effort.
We are inside Willis Tower in downtown Chicago,
Illinois USA, in the middle of the peak season the likes of which air
cargo hasn’t seen since the early years of this decade.
“Yes, business is good but maybe there
is bit too much capacity with several freighters being brought in for
Asia and elsewhere,” Jan says.
“We are the fastest growing cargo
carrier as compared to 36 other airlines.
“I put that down to the quality of
our people and the fact that United Cargo is outperforming the competition.
“We are in a good positive market
where many carriers are doing well.
“But we are always determined to build
every aspect of our offering while developing close business relationships
that will outlast the current boom,” Jan said.
“A major concern among the positives
is that our growth continues to be fast and furious, which challenges
the ability to have all systems aligned.
“So we are at work as we speak at
our hubs in Newark, Chicago and San Francisco, advancing and refining
every element of our service delivery.”
Never Confuse Altitude With Attitude
On a window wall post is a picture of Dwight
D. Eisenhower deplaning a United prop flight back in the late 1940s before
he became U.S. President.
Ike’s smile beams like the high wheat
across the summer time prairie, whilst 17 floors below, the city of the
broad shoulders unfolds itself west to the great plains.
The visage of Ike plays against the room
full of people in earnest to help each other and anybody else, where the
airplanes land reminding us of how great and friendly America gets as
you move west through this great city.
“Rates as always are in play, but
our approach is to collaborate with our forwarder partners – we
both realize that by working together closely we can offer elevated all-in
value through our combined effort that will be compelling for our shipping
“In all cases we never confuse altitude
“Even with our growth and success,
we always stay right down on the ground and extra close to our partners
to ensure we understand what they need from us. In the Air Everywhere
“The United Cargo market approach
is not toward the bottom rate – instead we concentrate on value-added
commodities where our network, product offering and service bring the
maximum benefit to the customer.
“Great examples are pharmaceuticals
via our TempControl service, PetSafe and other unique offerings where
we own a healthy market share that is expanding due to our focus.
“We plan to boost that focus on products
in 2018 as we deploy our new product team to bring all the aspects of
product development, strategy, sales, operations and marketing together
to ensure we deliver the high-quality solutions specialty product customers
While Jan Krems arrives in Chicago each
morning with the sun and speaks to customers and colleagues all over the
world to monitor sales and service in this busiest of seasons, he can’t
resist thinking about what’s new and what’s next.
“As we approach 2018, we’re
beginning to plan our annual Cargo team meeting,” Jan muses.
“And I believe the theme we’ve
chosen says a lot about our team’s mindset as we get ready for the
“Last year our theme was ‘Unstoppable
– we were aligned toward the goal of being the best belly carrier
and aimed all our efforts at achieving this status.
“We’re not cocky or satisfied,
but we do think we’ve made great strides toward our objective. So
in 2018 our theme is ‘No Limits!’
“In other words, we want to develop
a more ambitious vision, and we don’t want anyone to be confined
by the thought ‘that can never happen.’ We have the kind of
people who are inspired by challenges and possibilities, so I’m
really looking forward to hearing everyone’s ideas on what a ‘no
limit’ future could look like.”