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   Vol. 15  No. 23
Thursday March 17, 2016

Buoyant Bellinder Sunny Side Up


     Do you know what we like about Jim Bellinder, Vice President Cargo Sales Americas for United Cargo?
     Jim is an airline guy who moves in an upbeat fashion that might suggest he has a bit of Jet-A coursing through his system.
     Buoyant Bellinder seems to keep himself sunny side up.
     Not such an easy thing to do as business challenges and other cycles come into play in 2016, but in the big game, when the time is late and winning is on the line, you want Jim on your side.

What Happened Last Year?

     “Looking back over 2015, I’d say the most significant event was the West Coast port strike and the boost it gave to United Cargo—and the air cargo business in general—during the first quarter.
     “Global economic trends and industry conditions were such that that momentum couldn’t be sustained, as most of that business returned to the sea, but that wasn’t really a surprise.
     “The pleasant surprise was that many of the customers we worked with during the strike—the connections that began or deepened during that period—stayed with us as the year wore on.”

Customer Clinch Not Cliché
     “It sounds like a cliché—it probably is a cliché—but my top priority is customer service.
     “The things I focus on when I’m not actively engaged with customers in person, on the phone, or via email all reinforce that priority.
     “You build the best team because you want to give the best support to a customer.
     “Products are enhanced and an effort is made to keep current on industry trends so you can provide the best solutions.
     “Even personal traits like being humble, honest, appreciative, and empathetic are all based around what benefits our customers.”

Buoyant Bellinder Sunny Side Up

Nobody’s Fool

     “This April Fools’ Day, I will have been in the air cargo business 30 years. (You and your readers are welcome to insert your own joke here!)
     “But seriously, the most important lesson I’ve learned in 30 years is that through positive and negative business cycles, and whether your company is riding high or going through challenges, the key factor is the quality of the personal relationships you’ve built.
     “I have a few phrases related to this principle which will probably be familiar to anyone who’s heard me speak: people like to do business with people they like and trust.
     “Never take customers for granted, and value every piece of business they trust you with.
     “Find out what problems your customers need to solve, then create a solution. Find a way to do business and be willing to do whatever it takes.”

The Only Constant Is Change

     “There’s a new challenge almost every day, but the consistent challenge has been trying to manage and meet rising expectations amid all the factors that affect your company’s or your own personal level of success.
     “It can be frustrating because most of these influences are out of your control—but most industries and businesses are in the same boat.
     “I think anyone who claims sole credit for an initiative needs to think again. Worthwhile changes in any organization are always a team effort.
     “Sometimes I had the idea, other times I was a facilitator or supporter of the concept, and many times I was involved in the execution.
     “The specific idea I would claim to champion is the customer service culture I talked about earlier: an approach based on communication and collaboration that I try to encourage in my team and colleagues.”

The United Forwarder Proposition

     “The vast percentage of United Cargo’s business is generated by the airline/forwarder partnership, and although the industry is always evolving, I don’t see that situation changing in the future.
     “In fact, our drive is to strengthen our forwarder relationships by boosting the level of cooperation and collaboration.
     “While the integrators are competitors in some facets of the business, they are also our partners in areas where our capacity supports the needs of their customers.”

United New Routes A-Poppin'

     “The United Cargo team is eager to take advantage of the new routes that will launch in 2016.
     “Most of the new services are focused around our San Francisco hub.
     “On March 30, service between SFO and Tel Aviv will begin; then on May 8 we’ll begin nonstop service between SFO and Xi’an, China.
     “This will be the first trans-Pacific service to Xi’an operated by any airline, and United will be the first U.S. airline to serve the city.
     “Then in June, United will begin nonstop service between SFO and Singapore using the new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
     “This will become the longest nonstop flight operated by any U.S. carrier.
     “This is a route we’ve wanted to fly that became feasible due to the range and efficiency of the 787-9.
     “Completing the new routes from SFO this year is our service to Auckland, New Zealand, beginning July 1, also serviced with the 787 Dreamliner.”

Seasons in The Sun

     “Our seasonal service this summer is centered around routes between our east coast Newark Liberty and Washington Dulles hubs and Europe.
     “We’re introducing a second daily widebody nonstop between Newark and Brussels on May 5 and daily widebody nonstop service between Newark and Athens, Greece, on May 25.
     “On the same day, we’re launching a daily widebody nonstop between Washington Dulles and      Barcelona, Spain, and daily nonstop service between Dulles and Lisbon, Portugal.
     “For my North America West region team, the most exciting development is the return of a number of domestic U.S. widebodies this spring.
     “We’re starting up 777 service from both SFO and LAX to IAD, giving us much more lift and faster connections from the U.S. West to Europe and back.
     “We’re also flying Dreamliners from both SFO and LAX to IAH, which gives us the same boost to and from the Latin America region.”

Cool Control by TempControl

     “Looking at construction and product development, the highlight so far this year has been the grand opening of our new TempControl Center at our hub at Newark Liberty International Airport.
     “We’re very proud of this facility and its features and innovations because they were the ones most requested by our TempControl customers.
     “We plan to use the EWR facility as a model for similar TempControl Centers in other United hubs.”

Team Leader

     “As VP of Cargo Sales for the Americas, I plan and direct all the Sales activity in the Americas. I’m very fortunate to work with four very talented and experienced Senior Regional Sales Managers who lead the U.S. North, South, West, and Latin teams, along with experts in Specialty Sales and Courier Accounts.
     “Fortunately, our team is aggressive, highly motivated, and knowledgeable, so my role is to set priorities and provide guidance.
     “I spend two or three days during an average week traveling to meet with customers, and of course when I’m not on the road I’m connecting with customers via phone, email, or other technologies.”

Air Cargo 101

     “If a genie granted me three wishes (and I wanted to use one to change the air cargo business), I would make it much more collaborative, with each member of the supply chain aware of what the others need to prosper, and cooperating to ensure we all succeed.
     “I’d have fewer global procurement exercises and many more partnerships built on trust and empathy.
     “If I weren’t in the air cargo business, I’d probably be doing something that involved public speaking or presenting.
     “I really enjoy the challenge of getting up in front of a group of people and trying to convey some positive message about the best way to conduct business or build connections.
     “Especially high on my list of favorite situations is addressing a group and knowing when the audience ‘gets it’ and responds!”

A Feel For The New Normal

     “I think the air cargo industry is adjusting to a ‘new normal’ of lowered expectations where we can’t count on a certain percentage of increased business.
     “Most established economies around the world are flat or growing slowly, and the emerging economies aren’t emerging as rapidly as they were.
     “Then there’s the one-two punch of capacity increases: not only lower fuel costs resulting in long-idle freighters coming out of mothballs to begin flying again, but the steady rise in passenger demand serviced by new, more belly cargo-friendly passenger aircraft.
     “I expect the air cargo business to be in a healthier place by the end of 2016 than we are right now, though I have to admit that I can’t point to any specific facts, figures, or trends that support this outlook.
     “I’m an optimist by nature, so that might explain this prediction.”How To Improve Air Cargo? S/H
     “If you asked me that question a few years ago, I would have said, ‘More one-on-one meetings with customers.’
     “But recently the pendulum has swung the other direction, and some conferences are like “speed dating” with one meeting after another.
     “This leaves less time to circulate among the attendees, meet new people, and bat around innovative products, services, and cutting-edge ideas.
     “So the moral is ‘be careful what you wish for.’”

If You Missed Any Of The Previous 3 Issues Of FlyingTypers
Access complete issue by clicking on issue icon or
Access specific articles by clicking on article title
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Up The Irish

Publisher-Geoffrey Arend • Managing Editor-Flossie Arend •
Film Editor-Ralph Arend • Special Assignments-Sabiha Arend, Emily Arend • Advertising Sales-Judy Miller

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