Vol. 10 No. 45                          THE GLOBAL AIR CARGO PUBLICATION OF RECORD SINCE 2001                      Tueday May 10, 2011


Security Expert Goes Inside What Is Next

Basso Profundo On TSA

In an exclusive interview Donald M. Basso, who served as a principal security analyst with the TSA Air Cargo Group and now newly named Vice President of Mercury Aviation Services spoke to FlyingTypers candidly about air cargo security and what’s next.

Q  What do you consider to be the major challenge confronting air cargo security right now?
A  Besides the millions of lbs/kg that move on freighters in and out of the U.S. and working with the international community on securing inbound passenger aircraft cargo, I’d say balance. We need security, and we need commerce to move freely. The act of balancing the two is sometimes overlooked universally. When the Yemen incident took place, the knee-jerk reaction is to screen every single box; the balance would be to take time to come up with innovative ideas and work a smarter layered approach to security.
Q  As a pioneer and architect of security concepts and implementation, what would you have done differently based on results?
A  I would have loved to be more threat based in our approach with CCSP. We were bound to the legislative requirement of ensuring that air cargo screening was commensurate to that of checked baggage screening—that meant at the piece level.
     Another issue that creates confusion is the many voices coming out about TSA on Air Cargo’s security direction and policy. TSA needs to let the Transportation Sector Network Management (TSNM) Air Cargo Division (Doug Brittin) alone provide guidance/policy and be the voice to the industry. TSNM’s mission is to spearhead the direction of the Agency and lead, usually by producing policy. When you have different branches within TSA with their own interpretation, and field agents interpreting policy in their own way all over the United States and not directly from the actual policy group, you have confusion and disorganization. It was over my pay grade to fix this, but I wish I had tried harder.
Q  What prompted you to move from a government security post where you were in some terms an enforcer, to the “other side” where you will now in some respects need to adhere to TSA edicts?
A  Challenge and Progression. I was with TSA since its inception and worked through 100 percent Passenger Screening, Baggage Screening, then Cargo. I enjoyed working on many projects, from developing new covert testing measures to helping develop the CCSP. I learned that I was an aviation security consultant before I even knew it. The move to Mercury, specifically Mercury’s consulting arm Mercury Aviation Services (MAS), was about progression and being able to build on the great reputation and success they have had. That and being able to accept gifts bigger than mugs and pens… to one day accept a polo shirt or logo-stamped leather day planner was a deep desire.
Q  How does that feel?
A  I helped formulate many of the TSA directives so I could navigate the murky federal waters for customers and at the same time understand TSA’s perspective. It feels great to know each side of the coin.
Q  What do you think will be the result to the air cargo business of your move to Mercury?
A  Honestly, I feel that we are going to become the premier company in aviation services consulting. We are powered by a rich history, amazing reputation and we cover it all. Each one of our businesses touches a different part of the aviation industry and does a pretty darn good job at it. Leveraging our experience and know how, I believe we stand out in the crowd. That being said, I think we are going to better the air cargo industry through consulting and smart process improvements and continue to build a better relationship for the cargo industry with the TSA.
Q  In the brief time at MAS, what has surprised you?
A  The support, team spirit and energy have all surprised me. I left a great job where I was working with dedicated individuals, to a job that mirrors the same. MAS has a vested interest in the success of the aviation industry and it’s comforting to walk up to one of our cargo screeners and see that they enjoy their work and truly understand the importance of it and what they are doing for America. I am impressed with every new person that I meet here.
Q  What do you say to somebody who (has) or might say:  “I hate the TSA?”
A  I usually ask “why?” I am curious to know what the gripe is, or why someone feels so strongly. I listen actively and if their argument is legitimate, there really isn’t anything that I can say. Usually it stems from them not knowing all the facts or details about a decision; I try to inform them as best as I know. I even converted one or two in my time. I don’t like it when people make jokes about the Transportation Security Officers in the airports. They are just doing their job. To watch a young kid that recently returned from serving over a year in Iraq, now in a TSA uniform receiving rude remarks during a pat-down that is not of his design is uncalled for and unfair.
Q  What do you say to some industry stakeholders in Europe and elsewhere that insist USA cargo security measures are confusing and inconsistent (as in rules that change depending where you are shipping to or from in USA)?
A  Right before the “Yemen Incident” TSA’s Air Cargo policy shop was starting the process, led by Doug Brittin, to produce more straight-forward security programs. They were about to release a few clarifications and the Certified Cargo Standard Security Program (replacing the Order and APs) but the incident in Yemen took everyone’s attention and efforts in another direction. I believe that soon we will see clear policy that is consistent and makes sense. Warren Miller and Tom Friedman are also leading these efforts and are straight shooters with a real common sense approach to policy, and they understand the challenges of air cargo.
Q  Can you advise where the air cargo business is today in terms of its security and perhaps discuss briefly where and how we all can do better?
The air cargo industry has made great strides on security. There are many more miles to go, as regulations will get tighter over time. The restrictions aren’t going to ease up and all of a sudden decide that we are safe to no longer conduct screening. Sure, a new piece of technology could come out that would ease the burden, but that is years from now and there will be a new threat. The bombs relating to the Yemen incident were highly complicated. I am saying this to explain the intensity and ingenuity behind the threat. We can all do better by playing our part and understanding that there is an actual threat and security is not going anywhere within our industry; it’s adapting and growing. Executives need to plan and prepare for that.
Q  Has TSA done its job? What is the legacy of Ed Kelly? How would you also consider the job of Doug Britton?
A  Honestly, I believe the job is never done. It’s not a war because wars end. As long as there are terrorists that want to do us harm or disrupt the global supply chain, TSA will have a job to do. Has TSA done its due diligence? I say yes. Ed was a great leader, no nonsense and saw the big picture. His legacy is heralded throughout the government as someone who brought industry to the table and created a partnership between them and government. Ed’s legacy is ongoing today when you see senior leadership at TSA and DHS continuing his efforts, following his example and uniting together public and private sides. Ed laid out a vision that Doug Brittin implemented and improves upon daily. Doug carried the torch when we lost Ed. That was heartbreaking for the entire team. Doug gently picked everyone back up and got us all focused on the 100 percent mandate. He pushed us through 100 percent and got us to have a solid plan for 100 percent inbound on PAX. Then the Yemen incident occurred, and we faced some very big challenges. Right now he is tackling issues that weren’t on Ed’s radar, bigger issues and even greater challenges. I admire the guy for that. On top of that, he’s there before anyone and usually he is the last to leave. I think he is the best man for the job, is performing well and truly has great guys supporting him like Marc Rossi, Doug Foster, Dave Burnell and Gary Lupinacci. I know all of them well and they are quality people. Also, I can’t leave out Tamika McCree when talking about this effort. She forged and maintains great relationships for TSA with our industry.
Q  What do you do to relax? What is the last book you read? Name a favorite city, vacation spot, restaurant, and sport to play or watch.
A  My time that I have to relax is spent doing just about anything with those I care about. I just finished reading “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” My favorite city would have to be New York City, with Chicago a very close second. Any place quiet without electricity for vacation. I love cooking and eating so there are too many restaurants to list. I am also a big NY Jets fan… BIG.
Geoffrey Arend/Flossie



EMO Emotion Motion 2011

     EMO TRANS is an international freight forwarder and global logistics service provider founded in Germany in 1965.
     EMO offers air freight and ocean freight services for direct, intermodal, and consolidated cargo for import shipments and export shipments.
     EMO also provides warehousing, distribution, packing, insurance, letters of credit, customs brokerage, and chartering. EMO's project division, PLI, offers turn key solutions for specialized projects.
     EMO's international logistics and freight forwarding offices are a worldwide network providing customers with professional door-to-door logistics.
     EMO's track and trace gives customers real time access to air freight and ocean freight shipment status.
     “EMO TRANS' mission is to provide reliable and professional international freight forwarding and global logistics services,” says Jo Frigger, President and CEO adding quickly:
     “Our employees are the very best you can find in the international logistics business.”
     Jo Frigger is a great American success story.
     Soft spoken, yet determined and quite dedicated to his business, its people, EMO customers and to the transportation business all around, Mr. Frigger combines a lifelong love of the industry with an eye for making things better. Whilst shunning any publicity or grandstanding credit ever since he appeared on these shores in 1965 with his wife Karin, the saga of this most successful and well-respected medium sized forwarding and logistics company shows no signs of stopping.
     We asked him why he is in MUC this year?
     "EMO Trans was founded in Germany. Through the years we have enjoyed our time at Transport Logistik to both meet old friends and get to know new ones.
     "As the change of pace quickens, it is always a good idea to let everyone know what to expect."


Transport Logistik Sets Stage


LUG Gets Down
To Business In Germany

     When LUG aircargo handling GmbH or back in the day LUG Luftfracht-Umschlag Gesellschaft as the company was titled at its conception in 1966, the idea was to form a professionally administered central warehousing hub.
     By 1997 when LUG moved as one of the first companies into the newly established CargoCity South, the company led the way into things to come for air cargo both in Germany and the world over.
     At Frankfurt LUG´s office building and air cargo operation has been continually updated and improved over the years.
     But now with a brand new facility—a new landmark for air shippers at Frankfurt Main being built, LUG is once again stretching and creating for tomorrow as it continues on a path begun, now closing in on nearly half a century ago.
     Along the way LUG opened a new station at Munich Airport through its daughter company LUG München aircargo handling GmbH & Co. KG. As the first cargo-handling agent in the sector, LUG aircargo handling GmbH has been awarded the certification pursuant to ISO 28 000 by TÜV Rheinland. ISO 9001was confirmed.
     We spoke to LUG Chief Operating Officer Wolfgang Korte on the eve of Air Cargo Europe 2011.
Herr Korte is an enthusiastic supporter of the Frankfurt Cargoclub Germany (ACD) and is an air cargo builder evident in many avenues and aspects of the European transportation trade.
     “Transport Logistik / Air Cargo Europe is worldwide the biggest event of our industry, hence an ideal marketplace to meet all the key players.
     “LUG is out to further foster the relationship with our customers and business partners and to establish new contacts hence introducing the name and brand LUG also to airline executives, who are not yet familiar with LUG and its product portfolio.
     “We are getting the word out as LUG builds towards a stronger market penetration looking for business partners especially in view of our growing station network in Germany.
     “The year 2011 has gone fine so far and our cargo handling facilities were utilized almost to their maximum capability.
     “Our business has been impacted by growth to all regions and in particular exports to Asia, have remained strong.
     “However we are a bit surprised however that imports from Asia have recently decreased, considerably.
     “I am therefore very much looking forward to the opening of our 10.500m2 warehouse extensions this September, which will bring some relief and will at the same time allow badly needed space for new customers.
     “Those interested can have a look at our website www.lug-fra.de webcam.
     “The new building will add another 20 truck-gates, which will make it in total 44 plus 8 positions for pick-up trucks.
     “Basically the (in total) 33.000m2 warehouse area will be split into an export section, a build up and break down area and the new warehouse will primarily serve as an import terminal.
     “This should speed up processes significantly.
     “In addition we can offer a state-of-the-art office building of additional 4.400m2, of which parts have already been leased. “Finally we are in the lucky position to offer to our customers and staff a park deck, which can accommodate 330 cars.
     About costs related to fuel Herr Korte noted:
     “We have noticed some impact affecting our costs as fuel becomes more expensive.
     “Of course we are not directly affected by the increased fuel prices but we feel the pinch as prices for oil related products (polythene sheets, plastics etc.) have gone up, as well as prices for energy and electricity.
     “A major issue at LUG has always been security, in fact we are well equipped with modern security technology and have a dedicated security force in place.
     “So although we are constantly updating and are eternally vigilant, at the moment there is nothing that we do significantly different, compared to say 2010.”
     We wonder if this long time air cargo handling professional is satisfied with the implementation airline to customer to government when speaking about security?
     “Yes and no.
     “Generally there are a vast number of laws, rules, regulations as well as amendments in place, which makes it difficult to keep track.
     “In Germany most of the handling agents are member of the VACAD Association.
     “This association group bundles the interests of its members in a none cartel manner, as there are no commercial issues, whatsoever on the agenda.
     “Most issues are security related, which means that there is a close collaboration between our association and government bodies such as the Federal Aviation Administration or the Federal Ministry of Transport, to just give two examples.
     “There is also a good communication with other bodies such as Airport Authorities or BAR.
     “At the heart of security is close cooperation that at least ensures mutual information and consultation on current security issues to the benefit of authorities and all market participants.”
     We also wonder if there is something in particular that Wolfgang Korte is particularly proud of when speaking of LUG Cargo?
     “We are quite satisfied as an independent privately owned company in business since 1966 of our continuing ability through dedication and hard work to play a strong role in our home market despite an ever growing competitive environment and market pressure.
     “Our steady investments in facilities, technology and people underline that we believe in excellent business opportunities in a growing aircargo market.
     “We are also (as mentioned) proud to offer our cargo handling services at MUC Airport for nearly three years.
     “We promise to be a reliable, predictable and quality driven business partner to our customers, and this is what we definitely are.
     Other "promises" are not made; everything else is based on concrete facts such as SOPs or SLAs.
     “We strictly adhere to these parameters, once they have been agreed and signed.
     Of course in addition LUG works on continuously fine-tuning our service quality and the efficiency of processes.
     FlyingTypers wonders if given five minutes to speak to each delegate at Air Cargo Europe what would Wolfgang Korte say?
     “I don't need five minutes but I can say this: “We are all in business for one single reason— to make money.
     “So let's stop cut throat practices and let us re-focus on commercial principles.
     “Someone who expects true value for money needs to pay for it.
     “There is no future for something like getting the best service at the lowest price, because it simply does not work that way.
     “At the end of the day we all will get what we pay for.
     “Nothing to add to this old saying!” Wolfgang Korte said.

BJ Handles Tough Questions Too

     If you want to get a smart, accurate and up to the minute view of things from a bona fide all cargo pro who understands every aspect of the air transportation business, just spend a few minutes with John Batten, Executive Vice President at Swissport.
     Having been on almost every side of the transportation business, BJ is a really smart guy who is better than good; he is great in sharing and building air cargo in every way.
     So much for the build up.
     Here we wonder what’s up next and likely to happen in the future in this wide-ranging conversation.
     “As we get into May 2011, so far, so good, but you never know what is around the corner.
     “What is clear in my mind is that I have the right team in place to react to whatever the world throws at us next.
     “I think many in the industry realize that the events of 2008/2009 had some positive effects too.
     “Everyone was forced to review his or her businesses to the smallest detail.
     “As a result my business is leaner, more effective and more efficient.
     “I also have more customers than ever before.
     In recent times we have had to deal with global financial meltdown, political instability, weather issues, health epidemics, the ash cloud and many more. “Every challenge has been met, and every time we learn how we would do it better next time.
     “What will come next may well be something new, but I am sure myself and my team can deal with it.
     “That helps me sleep well at night.
     “Trends are another thing as they at least remain unclear at this point.
     “Global financial stability has not returned.
     “Political instability has curtailed some of our expansion plans temporarily.
     “The oil price remains volatile. Airline mergers and alliances continue. Security legislation remains fluid and inharmonious, which creates difficulties in providing the right level of service at the optimal cost when everyone interprets policy differently and all want to lead.
     “Within Swissport, we will continue to introduce innovation and technology to help move our business forward.
     “We support C2K and e-freight and are working hard to ensure we spread the message. Both initiatives are not widely understood and that stifles progress and adoption.
     “The e-AWB is also in this category, so that is on our agenda too.
     “We are also supporting some of the more innovative airlines in developing best practice, network-wide quality and customized handling programs, specifically designed for their operation.
     “Standard Swissport Quality is important, but as a service provider we must also be able to accommodate the differentiation that our customers want us to deliver on their behalf.
     “I am happy to see GACAG in place and hope that the engagement of more parties can bring good results.
     “We still do not have strong representation for Ground/Cargo Handlers so this remains a work in progress, but we are working on it.
     “This week in Munich my top priority is to meet as many people as possible, new and old.
     “Let them know what we are doing and get open and honest feedback on how we are doing.
     “Within Swissport, my biggest priority is to keep improving what we do and how we do it.
     We have made great progress so far, but the work never ends.
     “This year will be very interesting for Swissport with our Management Information System (MIS) platform now operational.
     “This takes all the drivers of our business such as costs, revenues, productivity, tonnages, and incidents and gives us an entire suite of KPI’s as an output.
     “For the first time, my managers will have timely and transparent information to let them run the business the way I want them too.
     “My sales team can extract performance reports and discuss them with the customer within the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) set up, which we launched last year.
     “We can see trends, good or bad, and react to them much more quickly than ever.
     “It really will be the ‘Steering Wheel’ my team will use to run the business, and will deliver more safety, more quality and more efficiency.
     “In general, all regions are growing, but remember that the tonnages have come from a low base in 2009.
     “For Swissport, Africa is strongly driven by imports. Latin America is growing well, again driven by imports.
     “Europe had a very strong March, but was weaker in April.
     “Similarly, North America was also very strong in March and less so in April. Asia has definitely been impacted of late, so the incident in Japan and cost of fuel has made a difference.
     “But one area that gets top priority is security.
     “At an operational level we obviously implement all directives and legislation as they come into force.
     “What we are doing is that which is within our control, and there are a number of changes in 2011.
     “Firstly, we see that we need much closer engagement with the regulators.
     “We have a lot of experience to share and with a closer relationship we will be able to react to changes in processes much better.
     “It is clear that security requirements will always change, with new solutions to new threats, but we want to work more closely with equipment providers to try and ‘future-proof’ their equipment more effectively, either by way of new financing initiatives or the ability to have technical upgrades.
     “The investment in security technology we make is considerable and I do not want to have a situation where I have non-compliant equipment that was purchased brand new just 3 months previously.
     “Broadly speaking, while everyone is trying to work together on security, communication could still be better.
     “We are working with a major airline to improve this area as it could improve for the sake of the industry.
     “Some organizations rely on the Carrier to pass on information to the Ground Handler, which does work but can take a few days and in some instances it is interpreted differently, making it difficult to implement.
     “As a Global GHA, handling all the major airlines in at least one location, I would prefer direct engagement with the regulators.”
     Finally we asked BJ to describe his proudest achievement at Swissport and he (characteristically) replied:
     “For our people, I believe Swissport is a better company to work for than it was.
     I think our service is better and our customers are happier.
     “Awards recognizing our abilities are nice things to have, but we must never forget it is our people that make Swissport what it is.
     “I prefer happy staff and happy customers over getting awards, but I am very happy to have all three!
     “To our customers that means every contract we agree upon is supported by a Service Level Agreement.
     “This allows us to deal in facts when measuring performance.
     “It also allows us to accommodate any customer-specific services that are required.
     “On top of that I take my role as the boss seriously.
     “My reputation is only as good as the service we deliver and I make sure I speak with as many customers as possible to remain close to our operations.
     “In saying this, things do go wrong and correcting them is a priority which everybody at Swissport takes seriously.”

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President Flies Like Everyone Else

Sealed With a kiss… Germany’s President Christian Wulff and wife Bettina fly commercial and love it…

     German President Christian Wulff had to involuntarily prolong his official Brazil visit for a few hours this past weekend due to the technical failure of the government’s aircraft being utilized by his official delegation.
     A cooling unit of the presidential Airbus A310 broke down, causing an AOG. Consequently, a spare unit had to be flown in from Germany to replace the ruined one. While Wulff’s craft had to stay on the ground until the aggregate was exchanged, the head of state and his spouse Bettina spontaneously decided not to wait for the repair, but to instead take a line-haul flight from Sao Paulo back to Berlin due to pressing state affairs at home.
     The A310s owned by the German government have become sort of problem children in recent times.
     In 2009 one of the two turbines of an A310 got overheated as Chancellor Angela Merkel sat in on her way from Brussels to Berlin, forcing the pilots to land in Hanover for a technical check.
     In 2006 an A310 with former State Secretary Walter Steinmeier on board suffered a sudden pressure drop and nosedived from high altitude for an emergency landing in Vienna.
     The government’s aging A310 fleet, although technically well maintained, stem from the remains of former East German airline Interflug.
     After the reunification of both Germanys in 1989, the Interflug A310s were taken over by the Federal Republic and since then used for official political missions and projects.
     Soon, however, the ailing craft will be sorted out since Berlin opted for completely renewing the government’s fleet.
     In the future Berlin’s leading politicians can utilize two A319s that accommodate up to 44 passengers each, offering a range of 7,400 km, four Bombardier-built Global-500 biz jets, and two A340-300 long-haul aircraft for 142 travelers that formerly belonged to Lufthansa’s fleet.
     The latter will be delivered at the end of this year and enable the government to send larger delegations to important international meetings.
     The total rollover of the state fleet costs the tax payer one billion euros.
Heiner Siegmund/Flossie


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