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,
must the air cargo business do now and post pandemic to come back stronger
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.
Q. Do you
have a hero? Please describe.
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.
Q. An August Report
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?
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.
and for what have these “freighter” operations helped?
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.
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,
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 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
More power to him with thanks for his always
informative and insightful comments here.