the chief cargo officer at Delta Airlines Cargo, Vice
President Global Sales and Marketing Ray Curtis is many
things to a host of people around the world.
During more than 30 years in
the air cargo business, Ray has continuously moved up
the ladder, equipped with the experience of belonging
to a transportation family—his mom, Joan, was
a well-known early pioneer in cargo, working for a forwarder
at JFK International Airport in New York.
Today at the helm of one of
the great air cargo resources on the planet, Ray-Ray—as
we like to call him—is still the same approachable,
engaging dreamer and doer of the air cargo form, despite
the weight of that great responsibility.
Air cargo is never “old
hat” to Ray Curtis.
Ray lives in an air cargo industry
that continues to evolve and inspire him at every turn.
“In looking at 2016,
we know that the first quarter has been a challenge
with, for example, year-over-year comparisons due to
the West Coast Port issue of last year.
“We also continue to
see excess capacity in the industry that continues to
place pressure on many aspects of the business.
“Q2 is just around the
corner and moving forward there are opportunities to
capitalize on to drive gains.
“The main factors for
the changes we all see in air cargo are from a maturing
of advanced technologies adding greater efficiencies
and taking out costs for transportation,” said
“Add to that modal shifts
and geography, and we see changes in Asia and on the
transatlantic with more time-viable offerings.
“The size of goods shipped
is changing; the advent of near shoring with some plants
relocating from Asia to Mexico continues the movement
of products into the U.S. market in a different way.
“Yet, despite all the
change, still today an estimated 70-75 percent of global
air cargo fits on non-freighter aircraft.”
As A Foundation Business
products are a key component of our business and we
will continue to make investments to support the efficient
and reliable transportation for these products in line
with the needs of our customers.
“In fact, we have increased
the staffing of our product team, allowing us to more
keenly focus on needs and growing our business.
“At Delta Cargo, worldwide
cooler facilities are set up to support the temperature
control environments required to store perishables in
transit and on arrival.
“We invested and opened
a state-of-the-art, 3,000-square-foot cooler in our
Detroit facility, which features two drive-through doors
with pallet-capable storage that increases capacity
for shipments of pharmaceuticals, flowers, and seafood
as well as fruits and vegetables in ideal climate conditions.
“Delta and Miami International
Airport celebrated 70 years of continual service by
our airline into Miami last December 2015. Delta Cargo
today operates a 36,000-square-foot, co-location facility
in Miami with Virgin Atlantic, one of our joint venture
“DL at MIA features a
7,200-square-foot cooler space with temperature tracking
capabilities and monitoring systems allowing for ideal
“System-wide, Delta Cargo
continues to make investments to support this key component
of our business.”
Matter Of Attention
needs to continue to be innovative and collaborative
to enhance the value proposition of air cargo.
“As a team we continue
laser-like focus on delivering a consistent and reliable
value proposition, keeping relevant in every aspect
of the global air cargo business.
“Delta Airlines invests
in technology and aligns our investments with what our
“Efficiency in moving
data and accuracy are vitally important.
“Above all, every member
of our team understands that we are here with only one
purpose—to never forget the importance of our
customers, business partners, and alliance partners,”
Ray Curtis said.
If You Had Superpowers?
“Well, I guess the first thing
would be to convert all surface cargo to air freight,”
said Ray Ray.
“As part of Delta’s
culture of giving back, having safety and nourishment
for all children would be top of my mind.”
Somehow, we get the feeling
Ray-Ray’s heart and soul contribute greatly to
how things are done, functioning as a prime driver of
raising the form at Delta Cargo.
2016 In Berlin
in key industry events such as WCS here in Berlin is
paramount not only to the business of Delta, but also
the industry. “It’s about being collaborative.
“Air cargo needs to continue
to strengthen and affirm the value proposition for air
“As part of that, there
should be a quality platform that all can embrace.
“When you look at the
DOT monthly published metrics regarding airline industry,
it is the same measurement regardless of carrier.
“Air cargo faces challenges
in that not all companies have the same KPI’s,
so it’s not as easy when we are fragmented.”
say the surprise of the world today is the speed of
business and also life in general.
“You can reflect and
see how business has evolved, and how technology brings
“The advent of the Internet
… and speed of business continue to accelerate
everything, so while you intellectually realize that
it will continue to advance, for me the speed of advancements
on so many fronts never ceases to amaze. I even at times
wonder: ‘How do you insure that you are not in
the wait for me mode?’”