Grand Master Issa
Baluch may know as much about logistics as anybody you will ever meet.
He possesses the chops and know-how gained over a career that spans
37-plus years, and he has used these things to gather some of his thoughts
and put them down in black in white for all the rest of us to study
The Baluch book “Transport
Logistics - Past, Present and Predictions” (available on Amazon
for $65USD) is a 300-page barn burner that Prof. Issa created in 2005,
and it still fascinates.
Who else sets the table for modern
logistics study with detailed examples of historical projects that demanded
careful transport logistics management; for example, he explores what
it took to build the Great Pyramid in Egypt, the transport logistics
practiced in the Berlin Airlift, and the Battle of Stalingrad?
A second volume, “The
Wheels of Commerce” (Amazon $36.50USD) was created last October
(with Charles Edwards) and follows the thread with another 340 pages
on the topic.
Best known as the founder of Dubai-based
Swift Freight, which was a medium-sized multi-national that he eventually
sold to Barloworld, one of Issa’s lasting contributions is that
he is the guy that launched sea-air in Dubai.
These days we find him in some kind
of “retirement” (as if he ever could); Issa is now at Harvard
in the U.S.A., where he is undoubtedly continuing to think big thoughts
He has also started a major farming
initiative in Ghana.
It is our incredibly good fortune
that we have this interesting and, as his friend Ram Menen describes,
“nice guy” in our pages.
Expect us to beat a hasty trail
up to Beantown as 2011 rolls along, not only to watch our Yankees whomp
the Red Sox, but also to take our new best friend to the game.
Here in advance of the summer, Issa
shares some ideas with us.
will be new and exciting about air cargo in 2011?
most exciting thing that ever happened to the industry is the formation
of Global Air Cargo Advisory Group “GACAG” (TIACA, IATA,
FIATA and GSF).
I believe this is the perfect time for
such a collaboration in order to have a unified voice in the industry
that will not only tackle pressing issues with regulatory authorities
worldwide, but also bring out the best practices from the respective
organizations that should encourage everyone to advocate a joint agenda
2010. Did the year perform up to expectation? What stood out?
think 2010 brought about pleasantly surprising results, which is a great
deal after almost 2 years of just plain bad business. What stood out
was the impressive recovery of industrial activity in Asia that I believe
propelled air cargo to rebound. And Boeing’s latest World Air
Cargo Forecast supports my theory that several industrial shippers have
actually turned to air cargo because of constraints in containership
key appointments (industrywide, IATA, your area of interest, and any
other new people you would like to introduce)
National Association of Freight and Logistics (NAFL) of Dubai, UAE held
its General Elections in mid-2010, where I was re-elected president.
It can be recalled that I served as the first president of the association
in 1992, when it was still known as NCFF or the National Committee of
The General Elections were conducted under the directives of H.H. Sheikh
Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Emirates and the Patron of NAFL,
who delegated Mr. Ali Al Jallaf, Vice President, Cargo Unit, Dubai Airports,
to supervise the election procedures.
NAFL now has 250 members, and I am fortunate
to have a board comprised of very competent individuals. You will hear
more of the NAFL in the coming months as we are about to re-launch our
website, which will be more interactive, visitor-friendly and, most
is the biggest challenge to our business looking ahead?
always believed that the transport logistics industry is the most resilient
of all the business sectors – that includes both air and sea freight
industries. Having said that, these industries are also the ones most
susceptible to the biggest challenge of all time – security.
Following the recent attempt to blow up
cargo planes, we can expect to see further security restrictions on
international shipments. Governments around the world have pledged to
tackle the problem, and lawmakers are calling for much tougher inspections
However, for an industry that is accountable
for approximately 40 percent of global trade, screening of cargo and
categorizing fragmented areas of the industry is undoubtedly the biggest
challenge the industry has to face this year and beyond – this
is why I believe the formation of GACAG is monumental in these times.
We clearly have a lot of areas to take
into consideration, but I think with GACAG the industry can now come
up with a unified approach in tackling this longstanding issue on cargo
security, and finally have the impact that would require the attention
of worldwide regulatory authorities.
some trade shows that you might attend. Why?
of my prior commitments (I have been invited by Harvard University to
take part in the Advanced Leadership Initiative Program, which will
eventually make me a fully fledged fellow), I’ve only selected
to attend a few conferences this year, principally because I am a Board
Member. I will attend FIATA HQ Session in March, TIACA AGM in April,
and FIATA World Congress in September.
segment of Air Cargo Trade is performing best and which holds the most
to the latest Boeing Forecast, it is still express shipments –
primarily document and small-parcel traffic – that lead air cargo
trading; world air mail is expected to grow consistently at 1.4 percent
One of the leading air trade commodities
is pharmaceuticals, and will continue to be one of the most traded commodities,
particularly toward eastbound air routes.