New Rules for the Contact Sport of Business. What do you do with a room
full of truckers and forwarders and airlines?
Bring in motivational speaker Mimi Donaldson and talk
USA The Air Forwarders Association (AfA) meets next week March 10-12
in San Diego California.
Actually the conference titled simply
AirCargo, offers an interesting combination event of the Air and Expedited
Motor Carriers Association (AEMCA), the Airforwarders Association (AfA),
and the Express Delivery & Logistics Association (XLA), which have
co-hosted AirCargo in March for the past several years.
claims a diverse educational program for attendees, outstanding business
opportunities for exhibitors and excellent corporate exposure for sponsors.
“Each year, AirCargo brings together
a virtual “who’s who” of the industry within the express
delivery, freight forwarding and expedited motor carrier industries.”
The Air Forwarders Association has grown
from three members in 1990 into a genuine force for good in air cargo
that today boasts membership of nearly 400 companies.
AfA membership includes the nuts and bolts
people of air cargo with many self-made entrepreneurs as well as big
multi-national operators as well.
AfA is a varied interesting lot lead by
Brandon Fried, an energetic president who for the past five years has
built the organization with vigor and hard work and also by appearing
at times to be almost everywhere at once.
Here in a wide ranging Q&A Flying
Typers caught up with Brandon on the eve of San Diego as we spoke of
everything from motivational speakers delivering the keynote to why
should companies join AfA in the first place?
you assess the air cargo industry in 2010 and also give some insight
into what you believe lies ahead in 2011?
most significant accomplishment of 2010 was that 100% screening on US
origin passenger flights became a reality. Screening - an onerous unfunded
mandate –demonstrated the industry’s resourcefulness and
resilience. Are there additional costs and complications experienced
by forwarders and being passed on to consumers? Absolutely. Unfortunately,
that was an inevitable consequence of the legislation passed in the
Democratic takeover of Congress in 2006.
Industry performed well in the face of these difficulties, coupled with
a tough economy. The lessons learned by industry in 2010 should make
2011 a somewhat easier year for air forwarders. CCSP is working and
commerce continues to flow. The economy bounced back in 2010 after seeing
unprecedented drops in volume the year before. This economic recovery,
we hope and expect, will continue this year.
is the top priority of Airforwarders Association?
are working with TSA, CBP and Congress to encourage them to make a better
decision on inbound and all cargo aircraft than was made with domestic
cargo security. In other words, it is our job to show that there are
alternatives that provide better security than 100% screening on the
piece level. AfA continues to advocate for a risk based, multilayered
solution, using data mining for risk targeting, assessments and traffic
segmentation. Clearly, the new TSA deadline of December 31, 2011 for
international screening will occupy much of our attention.
However, domestic issues are extremely
important to our members. We must find a resolution to the lithium battery
proposed regulation, either through rulemaking, legislation or international
action. Ensuring those are in harmony with ICAO standards to preserve
competitiveness is an important priority. We are also watching the CSA
2010 and the hours of service rule making with great interest –
trucking regulations impact our members and our agents on a daily basis.
an air cargo industry of associations, industry groups and mega companies
what does AfA bring to the table?
AfA brings a U.S. focused perspective containing the knowledge and expertise
that the global association cannot be expected to possess. Our goal
is to work with them to share our lessons and experiences with screening
as U.S. forwarders have a compelling story to tell. There is also a
need to represent freight forwarders as an equal partner and we’re
working to make sure that is actually happening in global negotiations.
should a company be a member and also what types of memberships are
offered? How many new members has AfA gained during the past five years?
are many governmental forces, both legislative and regulatory, with
a profound impact upon forwarder’s daily business. A single forwarder
working alone would have little impact on regulators and legislators;
they would be attempting to cut through a dense forest of issues and
bureaucracy with a butter knife. The connections, relationships and
direct office lines available to the well-known and trusted trade associations
like AfA function as a machete for member companies. We have the back
of the airfreight forwarder so that he can do what he or she does best
-move the cargo!
And speaking of numbers, five years ago
the AfA had about 140 members. Today our membership includes almost
400 companies with over 3,000 offices employing in excess of 20,000
Wednesday begins the Annual AfA Event. What are the subjects of concern
amongst the membership slated for discussion and what do you hope will
be the takeaway from the meetings?
theme focuses on doing business in Asia, since experts tell us that
is where the current and future growth can be found. The conference
will tackle the new trucking regulations as all freight forwarders use
trucks at one point or another. There
will be an airing of common issues during our town hall meeting to encourage
dialogue across the supply chain. There is also practical advice to
be gained - a legal panel will discuss bill of lading contract provisions,
new FAA regulations that hold the forwarder potentially liable for shipper
HAZMAT violations and much more. It will be a perfect opportunity to
ask lawyers for advice, free of charge!
Of course, the session would not be complete
without a visit from the TSA. The agency will be sending a group of
experts to discuss the current state of screening here in the US and
what to expect with the upcoming international inbound requirement.
Finally, there will be discussion surrounding the KSMS system and the
dreaded appeals process.
the program the town hall concept etc. The opening session begins with
a motivational speaker.
the AirCargo conference brings trucking companies, air couriers and
airfreight forwarders together in one venue, this is a perfect opportunity
to share ideas and derive efficiencies that make us a more competitive
industry. The town hall meeting environment promotes a free yet respectful
venue for such information sharing.
was someone from outside air cargo selected?
has been said that the pros never stop going to school and often the
best lessons learned are from other industries and areas. Our keynote
speaker, Mimi Donaldson, will use the game of football to show us how
opportunity, intention and teambuilding are essential for success in
the air cargo business today.
Women Move Forward
Frigger-Latham is the newest Director of the Air Forwarders Association
Board that includes four women and eight men.
Although no women currently serve
as member of the Executive Committee at AfA, previously Laura
Sanders of Lynden Airfreight and Cathy Langham of Langham Logistics
chaired the Executive Board at AfA.
Outspoken Jenni says that her tomorrow’s
looks bright indeed as she readies addressing some big issues
of the day.
“The AfA, under the leadership
of Brandon Fried has done a great job of representing the forwarding
industry especially in discussions with government agencies.
“Recent expression of freight
forwarder concerns about legal and regulatory matters is a step
in the right direction as is heightened cooperation between IATA’s
Cargo Network Services (CNS) and AfA that today are working more
closely together than before.
“Streamlining policies will
produce a more powerful voice in government circles.”
in Air Cargo appear to be a new subject headlining AfA. Can you offer
a preview of the content of that session?
will be our third year offering a breakout session specifically designed
for Women in Cargo. The participants for the Women in Cargo event are
usually Regulatory (TSA, FAA), line haul carriers, passenger air carriers,
integrators, forwarders and cartage companies.
Our goal has been to provide a venue
for women to discuss industry topics that impact their careers, offer
networking opportunities for mentorship and industry development and
provide recognition for roles that are not solely focused on administration
and customer service
This year our panelists are all professionals
who have been in the industry for over 15 years. They will be speaking
to our group on the success and challenges of doing business in a global
market place as a female. Culture, language and mannerisms all play
a significant role in women having successful interaction and business
relationships in a global market. By the way, men are invited too!
approach is AfA taking to global implementation of security next week?
screening of each piece cargo might make for good headlines but we believe
it does little to assure complete air cargo security. A layered approach
combining targeted screening with shipper data, shipment characteristics,
intelligence sharing and worker credentialing will be more effective
in the end.
do you say to someone who says “I Hate the AfA?”
it something I said??
Actually, members tell me that to know
us is to love us and if you don’t admire the AfA, clearly you
do not know us. This organization and its committed leadership have
worked tirelessly to become the recognized voice for the airfreight
forwarder in Washington. Our efforts continue to assure that forwarders
stay in business through sensible policies that keep freight moving.
You have been heading up AfA since Jim Foster died which is how many
years? Brandon, what accomplishment are you most proud of having brought
to the group?
Foster was the founder of the Airforwarders Association and the industry
suffered a huge loss with his passing in 2006. I learned much from the
great man whose wisdom and insight continue to guide my passion for
the industry and its people. Jim taught me that we get much more accomplished
when working with others in a cooperative fashion.
I am most proud of assisting the AfA
membership in complying with the 100% screening mandate but most of
all, the Airforwarders Association being considered the voice of the
Can you name some things that you would like to change
about the way air cargo does business?
talk a lot about partnerships but all too often, the participants -
forwarders, airlines, truckers, stakeholder third party organizations
- revert to adversarial self-interest. These self-inflicted barriers
prevent progress and must be overcome.
More information on AirCargo click