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   Vol. 19 No. 58
Tuesday August 18, 2020
Letter From Brandon
Brandon Fried

Hi Geoffrey,

     Thanks for your good questions and I hope that you and the family are well and staying safe. My dad taught me a lesson he learned while fighting in WW II. He always said that you can tolerate anything as long as you know an end is coming. That good advice is certainly appropriate today.

Every good wish,

Brandon Fried
Executive Director
Airforwarders Association

Q.  What must the air cargo business do now and post pandemic to come back stronger than ever?

BF.  We should not fall into the trap of thinking that we can just hit the “play” button and business life as we know it, will resume immediately. Some trade industry segments will rebound quickly but others will be slow to recover. When we do get back to work, a different world awaits us.
     In response, forwarders and our partners will do what we have always done best, and that is listening to our customers and adapting to their changing needs. My advice is to reflect on how you fared compared to your competition and take those lessons learned to heart.

Q.  What have we learned with Cargo In Cabin (CIC)?

BF.  The Airforwarders Association’s forwarder members are thankful to our airline partners for stepping up and offering their passenger planes to fly flights with just cargo. We are certainly reminded of how clever, adaptable, and resourceful the various links in the air cargo chain can be. Of course, these flights are probably not sustainable as it is hard to imagine taking my usual seat 22B only to find boxes strapped on either side of me! But perhaps the industry should take a step back and consider reviving the “combi” or “quick change” aircraft of yesteryear.
     I would imagine that in the future, cargo divisions of the major airlines will enjoy newfound respect at the board table. For many carriers, cargo has certainly been a revenue lifeboat during this challenging time.

Brandon Fried and Afa board members, wife Kim and dog Lacey

Q.  Do you have a hero? Please describe.

BF.  Without question, my absolute hero is my wife Kim for putting up with me working from home during the past weeks. Other heroes include the hard-working Airforwarders Association members. These people have been on the frontlines of the pandemic, responding to the challenges of delivering essential medical supplies, fresh foods, and vital parts and equipment to keep hospitals and factories running.
     Forwarders and their complex logistics networks will lead the way to a full economic recovery.

An August Report Card

BF.  Addressing the issue of staffing, 43.2% report some level of personnel cutbacks ranging from modest to “bloodbath.”
    Over 62% of the members have indeed applied for federal relief (PPP or other program).
     Will this be enough? Clearly the jury is still out but close to 74% think it will bring some relief, but indications are this will fall short of keeping the industry whole.
     Over 86% of respondents surveyed said they have pivoted to new industry silos in addition to their traditional markets.
     As to what lies ahead, over 92% are cautiously optimistic about future business.

Q.  Have the passenger aircraft conversion to freighters helped?

BF.   The results have been truly mixed; dependent in most cases on the market segment(s) in which they specialize, although just under 70% have reported some degree of usage of the program.

Q.  Where and for what have these “freighter” operations helped?

BF.  Geographically we are seeing a mix between the U.S. Asia and the U.S. and the EU.
     As for commodities, not surprisingly most are centered around medical supplies and pharmaceuticals.

Q.  How do folks see the remainder of 2020 playing out:

BF.  At this point, forwarding is now a tale of two worlds with a common thread. One world consists of those fortunate forwarders who had made significant investments in the medical industry and continue to manage substantial shipments consisting of personal protection equipment (PPE), medical machinery, and pharmaceuticals.
     The other world includes those forwarders specializing in market niches closed by the pandemic, including trade show, entertainment equipment, and museum exhibit transportation. Still, as the survey indicates, many have responded to the challenges by moving into other, more lucrative markets to survive while the crisis lingers. The common thread is the creativity and resourcefulness of forwarders who continue to thrive, even in the face of such unprecedented adversity.

Editor's Note: The last meaningful gathering of 2020 was the Airforwarders Association Annual Conference in Nashville at the end of January. By now we should have seen Brandon at least two or three times at various venues since cancelled.
     Since it looks like the rest of the calendar for 2020 everywhere else will be scrapped maybe we won’t see him again until next year.
     Brandon is a spark plug, but right now from his perch just near the halls of U.S. government in Washington, D.C., we imagine he has his hands full keeping things going for the U.S.-based Airforwarders Association.
     More power to him with thanks for his always informative and insightful comments here.


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
Vol. 19 No. 55
Vaccine Airlift Call Plan
Chuckles for July 29, 2020
U.S.-China Across The Great Divide

Vol. 19 No. 56
Vaccines Can Get It On American
India China Boycott Takes Hold
Letters for August 3, 2020
Good Guy Retires In A Minute

Vol. 19 No. 57
Pharma Readies Vaccine Solution
chuckles for August 10, 2020
Hamill Prince Of The City
Summer Cooler

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