Vol. 7  No. 83                                         WE COVER THE WORLD                                                                   Friday August 1, 2008

     Who better to know the load Lucy carries besides her faithful “handbag” as she often calls me?
     I am Francesca Belle Ntuba, daughter of Lucy Ntuba.
     I have been present several times to watch her team and her at work, and have even accompanied her a few times to Switzerland for training courses.
     Like recently when we went to Zurich, Switzerland, during which I had the privilege of meeting Swiss staff from all over the world, and even got to visit the headquarters of Swiss WorldCargo.
     Lucy’s shoes are indeed quite heavy as the Cargo Manager for Swiss WorldCargo Cameroon.
     Walking in Lucy’s shoes, a typical workday begins as she vigilantly finds her way through the frantic traffic of the city of Yaoundé to get to her office.
     Without a minute to spare, she organizes her desk, checks her agenda and gets to work. Her work consists mainly of outdoor sales, administrative tasks and general supervision of indoor sales.
     Some duties her work entails include:  arranging appointments to see clients taking along statistics of their performance to evaluate their business with the company. And also, finding out if they are working with other airlines and trying to see if they can increase their business with the company. Staying in touch with clients to ensure that they are obtaining maximum performance on flights and that they are receiving good customer service by requesting feedback from them regularly. Evaluating the weekly bookings on the various flights.
      And if she finds out that the capacity is not maximized, she looks for other opportunities, contacting companies that are not in collaboration with the company to see if they have any freight and staying in touch with the diplomatic nation in Yaoundé, to get first hand information when new business is coming from different countries.
     Besides relentlessly seeking more freight, she also takes care of other administrative tasks.
     In charge of the cargo stations at Douala and Yaoundé (the economic capital and the capital respectively), she shuttles between the two cities regularly. It is a drive of about 3 hours covering a distance of approximately 242km on a single carriageway during which one can admire the beautiful scenery and also notice the transportation of small-scale cargo loaded on the rack of buses.
     This drive takes her and not many other people two and a half hours. With the frenzied driving, vigilance is key. Arriving after such a strenuous trip, she goes to work immediately.
     Whether in Douala or Yaoundé, she is reachable at all times by the staff thanks to the wonders of technology.
     As concerns the cargo staff, there are two in Douala and one in Yaoundé with Lucy, and together, they form a highly motivated team.
     Lucy emphasizes a lot on teamwork since to her, TEAM stands for “Together Everyone Achieves More”.
     And altogether, they share their challenges as she does her best to be supportive.
     A little while ago, there was a change of aircraft for a couple of months and it was quite a challenge for the clients and even more for the staff because the aircraft had less capacity. Quite often, they had the fear of losing their clients completely because they could no longer satisfy their demands. However, due to the trust they built with the clients and working as a team, they were able to survive the storm.
     Accepting the irrefutable fact that life as a woman in a male dominated world is one full of challenges, hasn’t stopped her from doing her work with tenacity. As a woman in a managerial position in Cameroon, she constantly has to prove herself to earn respect in the business environment.
     It is ironic because people think they can intimidate and manipulate her because she’s a woman, even on the road while driving, but they eventually learn not to underestimate all women.
     It is sometimes hard to get appointments with new enterprises especially when they are informed that the manager is a woman, but being the persistent woman she is, she always gets what she wants.
     When you say ‘no’ to Lucy, you’ve given her a challenge and she doesn’t give up until she receives a ‘yes’.
     Funny enough, even when we as her children want something and she says ‘no’, though it is her right as our parent, she makes sure she gets us to understand why she said so and eventually, we end up accepting that we can do without.
     Another challenge she faces is the erratic “African time” which for those who don’t know is usually about an hour after the designated time.
     Although deadlines have been set for the acceptance, some clients still tend to arrive late.
     “When I see pallets of pineapples, handicrafts, personal effects fully built on the flight, it brings such joy and satisfaction to me, that it neutralizes all the challenges I have faced in order to get there,” says Lucy.
     There is always fulfillment in a job well done.
     When she sees full flights, maximum capacity being utilized, wins business after a sales call and overcomes the numerous challenges she comes across, the fulfillment she gets is worthwhile to her.
     Lucy is a very charismatic person, loves meeting new people and indeed has good public relations skills, which are very essential in a job like hers.
     No matter the circumstance, she can create a fun ambiance whether it is by forming a song about the situation or through jokes and teasing.
     She’s also a very persuasive person. Recently, I had the opportunity to witness a meeting between her and a client who had some complaints because his cargo had been neglected which led to some loss.
     She handled the situation not only professionally, but showed genuine concern, reassured him she would take measures in order to make sure it wouldn’t happen again and even ended up persuading him to increase his business with the company.
     You would think she was born with this career in mind but actually, her dream had always been to become a manager in a private enterprise since it is known to be orderly and disciplined, or to work for an international organization.
     When she returned to Cameroon from the UK with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology, Masters in Human resources and management, after working for the British council as a program officer arranging training for managers from third world countries, her very first job was for an airline.
     This was a job she went into out of curiosity, with the intention of staying for a short while, but as she was told and has learned thus far, the airline business is indeed very contagious.
     Being the daughter of someone working in the airline business I would have to say has been quite an adventure… and like every adventure, you must encounter the not so pleasant experiences.
     The most significant of these would have to be the stress she goes through, which I share.
     But of course, there is the rewarding opportunity of traveling; which is one of my passions.
     And I appreciate the knowledge I have acquired through this adventure. I intend to follow in my mother’s footsteps as concerns her tenacity and other qualities, but I’m more of a flip-flops person; I don’t do heavy shoes so much.
     But seriously, as maximizing the capacity on flights is important, I fervently believe in making the best of all our talents and potential.
     So after studying International Studies along with Creative Writing, I intend to study Communication and Sociology and achieve something worthwhile in this world. I could only wish to be able to fill shoes like Lucy’s someday.
     She carries them with such ease and as her faithful handbag, I can’t help but be amazed at how she does it all.
     And despite their already heavy weight, she continues her daily hunt for more and more freight.
Belle Ntuba

(Editors Note: The first thing we did after reading this is decide that if we could convince this young lady to send reports of air cargo out of Africa to our readership then all of us would have a big leg up on the action there. Belle said yes, so stay tuned.)

An Air Cargo News/FlyingTypers Original

   Our exclusive series “Women In Air Cargo” asks our readers to send some words and a picture about somebody that you know who is female and has made a difference in air cargo.
  This effort is not limited to just success or failure, it is meant to raise awareness about the legions of unique women who in most cases are unsung heroines in the air cargo industry.
  So write and we will share your story with our readers around the world. For More Women In Air Cargo click here

     Streaking air freight moving at the speed of a blur is the message in this picture from Lufthansa Cargo to shippers who might wonder of all the reports this week of unrest and cancelled flights elsewhere at the carrier.
     “Freight handling at Lufthansa Cargo is so far virtually untroubled by the strike called by the ver.di trade union Lufthansa said.
     “All 19 MD-11 freighters are currently on schedule in operations from Frankfurt and Leipzig, without any cancellations or delays caused by the strike.
     “Road trucking services in Europe and Germany are also running regularly.
     "We prepared intensively for this strike and - due to a highly motivated staff - are currently working almost without hindrance.
     “Other notices are completely unfounded," commented Lufthansa Board Member Operations Karl-Heinz Köpfle.
     "We are supported by external service providers, staff from abroad and other departments at Lufthansa Cargo as well as around 40 management executives, whom we are deploying on operational activities.”

Here is the first Emirates Airline Airbus A380 aircraft delivered July 28 with over more than 500 guests in Hamburg, Germany.
     The aircraft arrives later today August 1 on its first scheduled flight from Dubai to New York.
     Emirates is the largest customer for the A380 with 58 aircraft on order.
      Apparently Emirates intends to get onboard big time A350XWB (above) as the company announced it had signed a letter of intent for 30 Airbus A350XWB plus 30 A330-300s.
     The agreement was signed between Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive Emirates Airline and Group and Tom Enders, Airbus President and CEO on the occasion of their first A380 delivery in Hamburg, Germany.
     At the 10th Dubai Airshow in 2007, Emirates signed a firm order for 70 A350 XWBs with an option for 50 more. Today’s agreement includes the firming up of 30 of these A350 XWB options that Airbus says will eventually increase Emirates’ total order for the A350 XWB to 100.

     Grandstar Cargo said it launched operations at Tianjin Binhai International Airport June 27 with a B747-400F flight to Frankfurt.
     The company said that it is operating TSN-FRA-PVG-TSN with 3 flights per week and soon to increase to 4 flights.
     Grandstar is a joint venture between: Sinotrans Air Transportation Development 51 percent, Korean Airlines 25 percent, Hana Capital 13 percent, Shinhan Capital 11 percent.
     Head office and base is in Tianjin.
     “Grandstar Cargo will further introduce the second B747-400F and 2 A300-600Fs into our fleet to expand our route network to Asia, America and all over the world,” said Mr. Lee Kwang Sa, president and CEO.
“We will exert our every effort to enable Grandstar Cargo to become leader of the cargo carriers in China."

U.S. Customs and Border Protection says implementation of a new cargo manifest processing system is delayed at least six months. "We built it, but it's just not working. “We simply can't risk deploying something at the ports and railheads that doesn't work properly," CPB said. The new system is part of a US$3.3 billion Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) information technology system being developed. CPB is hoping to have the manifest processing system running by next April.

IATA Cargo 2000 said Michael R White has assumed the post of regional director for the Americas. Mr. White will be based in Washington, D.C. Other IATA Cargo 2000 directors include Lothar Moehle, regional director for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), based in Germany and Tom Presnail, regional director for Asia Pacific based in Singapore.

China slowdown and decreasing demand will push carriers to launch a price war, so a new round of consolidation is likely after the Olympics to integrate resources and cut costs, Sinolink Securities reported. Sources say that China Eastern Airlines, and Shanghai Airlines are discussing a merger. Meantime China Eastern Airlines will continue with talks to sell a stake to Singapore Airlines after the Olympic Games, Luo Zhuping, China Eastern's board secretary said. Last September, the airline agreed to sell a 24 percent stake to Singapore Airlines and Temasek Holings, Singapore's state investment company, for 3.8 hkd per share. Shareholders rejected the proposal in January after the shares' market price rose sharply in the interim. The current agreement with Singapore Airlines will expire on Aug 9, but Mr. Luo told China Daily that the time frame can/will be extended.

Latest word is that Qantas Cargo executive Bruce McCaffrey has a reduced sentence to six (not eight) months in a U.S. Federal prison, two months shorter than expected for his role in the much reported air cargo price-fixing fiasco. The Qantas veteran suffers debilitating arthritis in his hands and will need a kidney transplant in the next 12 months. US Department of Justice (USDOJ) investigators reportedly used McCaffrey's inside knowledge to unlock price-fixing involving Qantas, British Airways, KLM, Korean Air Lines, Japan Airlines, Air France, Cathay Pacific and others.

Cargolux received its 16th and last 747-400 F on the 30th anniversary of the cargo carrier taking delivery of its first Boeing 747 Freighter. The airplane, dubbed "City of Contern," was presented before a contingent of official representatives from the commune of Contern, Luxembourg. But with an eye to staying Cargolux the carrier said that it is looking forward to delivery of the first of its 13 Boeing 747-8 Freighters in 2009.

San Francisco based AMB Property Corp. acquired three buildings that are part of the Beijing Airport Logistics Park, which is adjacent to Beijing Capital International Airport.

Just in case The USA Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has the mistaken impression that telling U.S. lawmakers on the Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection on July 15 that air cargo originating abroad would not be screened in time for that 100% mandate edict set to go in mid 2010, Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection Chairwoman Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) and Democratic Members of the Subcommittee sent a letter to Kip Hawley, Assistant Secretary and Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration, to reiterate that, notwithstanding TSA's interpretation of the law, the screening of 100 percent of air cargo was mandated by Section 1602 of the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007. In case you have time for some reading this weekend and would like to jump into this one, here is the link: http://homeland.house.gov/SiteDocuments/20080731121758-75682.pdf