FlyingTypers Logo
   Vol. 19 No. 64
Friday September 25, 2020
Will IATA Take CNS Down?
CNS Conference Session
     We have been thinking about IATA as air cargo becomes more famous in the mainstream media in regards to COVID-19 PPE flight performance.
     In the face of all the attention, IATA has shuttered all its cargo expertise in Geneva and Montreal.
     Glyn Hughes, Head of Cargo, and others in both locations have taken packages and are out.
     Is Cargo Network Services (CNS) next? Do we stand to lose the expertise of Mike White and his team?
     Based on the history of IATA and CNS, as I have covered the story for 40 years, even before CNS was formed, 2020 could very well witness IATA gutting what is left of CNS—currently a team of 3—and effectively destroying its position as the advocacy group for the U.S. flags and their forwarder partners.
     What that might mean is that the voice of CNS, the expertise of CNS as a viable organization, will be gone.
     That would mean terrible things for air cargo. The CNS Partnership Conference held yearly in various locations in the U.S. is without a doubt the best customer conference ever devised by air cargo for doing bottom-line business. Not to mention the value of the daily activist work that CNS performs on behalf of the airlines and the forwarders.
     To be clear, CNS, under the aforementioned doomsday scenario, might still be in business on paper and would likely have a suit and a name to sidestep the antitrust rule which brought CNS into formation 30 years ago in the first place.
     Not sure how all of that would affect CASS and some other processes.
     Right now, closing in on another bailout, you can really feel the pain and have some sympathy for the U.S. flag airlines and, in fact, airlines everywhere that remain 70 percent empty in passenger cabins.
     So, the attention to the plight of an industry organization like CNS takes a backseat to all the cargo in the passengers’ seats, as these airlines work furiously to save their failing businesses.
     But without some outcry even at the suggested possibility that CNS will disappear, odds are you might wake up one day to the news that gone is this jewel of a group born in America as the world’s first organization dedicated to bringing the airlines and their forwarder partners together.
     In these things IATA would be acting not unlike when, up until CNS President Tony Calabrese’s retirement, CNS had retained a distinct image and semi-independent agenda; IATA, then reined it in turning it into a regional office. In principal, IATA has every right to do as it sees fit, as CNS is an IATA company.

Jack Lindsay, Tony Calabrese, Brian Barrow, Robert Crandall and Buz Whalen
Networking at the second CNS Partnership Conference in Dallas are (L to R) first CNS President Jack Lindsay, second CNS President Anthony (Tony Calabrese), and original CNS Board Members Brian Barrow and Buz Whalen, with American Airlines CEO Robert Crandall between the two.

Why CNS Matters

 Richard Malkin    In an era where everybody has a trade show or a webinar, it is good to share once more the words of the late Richard Malkin, (left) the dean of air cargo, who worked for the betterment of the industry and for CNS, and then at 104 years of age shared these words.
     “A quarter-century ago, I was invited by the sparkling new Cargo Network Service to contribute my experience to determine an answer to a vexing question:
     “Should CNS, or should it not, invest time, effort and money in mounting a truly first-class air cargo conference?
     “With the approval of CNS president Jack Lindsay, the invitation had been extended by Anthony P. Calabrese, then director of product development, who was aware of my intimacy with the industry’s growing number of cargo conferences. I agreed to cooperate.”

Brian Barrow

The Beginnings

     “The scheduled airlines’ long-delayed awakening of the shipper as an important source of revenue was enriched by their flair for promotional ideas and public relations.
     “Not much time passed before one of the carriers invited a section of the shipping public—forwarders, air cargo agents, industrial traffic managers and purchasing agents—to a luncheon meeting where they would be treated to a lesson in air cargo economics as well as to a tasty portion of roast beef.
     “Competitor airlines gradually followed with their own versions of satisfying appetites while getting across a hard sell.
     “It took a while, but as these meetings became longer, more detailed, and more sophisticated productions, I gradually became aware that something was amiss: In virtually every instance, the airline representatives in the audience seriously outnumbered the customer attendees.
     “I editorialized on the problem. Didn’t the lopsided audience division matter to the carriers? Were they delivering the right message from the platform? What confined the users’ response to disappointing limits? The few readers who bothered to answer failed to cast convincing light on the puzzle.
     “Tony Calabrese was one of my oldest and closest friends in the industry.
     “Typically, when we sat down with cups of coffee to discuss the unfairness of an IATA rule or recent breakpoints on electronic goods, it would wind up with criticism of a conductor’s use of his baton or on concert artists’ foibles. This time, with Jack Lindsay present at our meeting at CNS’ offices, Tony came right to the reason for the meeting without the usual preliminary formalities:
     “On the basis of my wide experience, what is my personal reaction to a proposal to sponsor an annual air cargo conference that would take it around the country?”

Andreas Otto


The Dreamer & Doer Wins Out

     “‘Oh, no,’ I groaned, and I proceeded to repeat my argument especially when travel expenses and hotel fees were involved. I predicted failure, and I foresaw myself saying to Tony, ‘I told you so.’
     “Tony was unfazed by my opposition, arguing that CNS’ built-in membership of several thousand agents represented a live pool of prospects. There existed an area of common interest and values. I cited the example of the Civil Aeronautics Board’s sponsorship of the one-day air cargo conferences scheduled in as many as six cities throughout the United States.
     “After the third meeting, appalled by the paucity of active interest on the customer side, the board cancelled the remaining shows.
     “In Chicago, with John C. Emery, Jr. as featured speaker, the meeting’s sponsor was forced to resort to an invitation to a local business school’s transportation and export students to fill vacant seats.
     “Tony was probably aware of these incidents. In his calm, evenly stated way, he bore down on his confidence in the CNS agents’ homegrown support.
     “This was basic.
     “There were, too, the forwarders and shippers.
     “In the end, Lindsay (after whose retirement a couple of years later Tony was to succeed as CNS president) went along with Tony, and the first of Partnership Conferences was born.”

Ed Bastian

The Great CNS Partnership Conference

     “Over the years the Partnership Conference, which sprang from Tony’s fertile mind, was recognized as one of the world industry’s best.
     “During the closing hours of the initial meeting, Tony and I were sitting next to each other at a dinner table. We chatted about the day’s highlights. He had an idea that he wanted to implement next year, and before he could get into the details, he was interrupted by an aide who handed him a sheet of paper. Tony glanced at it briefly, smiled, then the smile broadened into a grin.
     “Customer attendance 18% over airline attendance.”
     “Whereupon he leaned over to me and sweetly whispered in to my ear, ‘I told you so.’

Tony Gave Wings To The Partnership Conference

Tony Calabrese     People have called CNS Partnership a lot of things over its first quarter century, but the gathering has never been slow or late in providing a first-class venue for conducting business.
     Credit the individual who dreamed up the Partnership Conference in the first place—former CNS President Tony Calabrese (1986/2006)—for ensuring there was plenty of time (and space) for cargo executives to feel they had discovered the perfect spot to cut a deal all by themselves.
     “When I started at CNS, the airlines and the forwarders, even the airlines and airlines, barely spoke to each other,” Tony said as CNS celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2011.
     “What happened right from the very first Partnership Conference in 1986 is that everybody discovered, through understanding, that our supposed differences were more myth than fact,” Tony said.
     “Recognizing that personal relationships are an important part of the way the industry does business, and our success in attracting key decision makers not just from the U.S., but from around the globe, we deliberately structured our program to allow people time to meet and conduct business without detracting from the main conference sessions.
     “Our business sessions were meant to stimulate debate and generate new ideas – to not allow people the opportunity to build on this would be doing them a disservice.
     “CNS takes considerable pride in the success of the Partnership Conference, and the role it has played in bringing together the prime movers of the air cargo industry to foster the development of airline / forwarder relationships.”
     Tony Calabrese shepherded this North American gathering for 15 years until his retirement in 2006.

Des Vertannes

Anti-Trust Origins

     For the record, CNS was born from IATA losing its anti-trust immunity, a consequence of the Competitive Marketing investigation and subsequent deregulation, which is the reason the American-based organization had to keep at arm’s length relationship with IATA for many years.
     “For years we struggled for recognition and many people thought CNS was not more than the CASS settlement system.
     “To change that perception, we started CNS Focus as a four-page newsletter and sent it around to our members.”

The Airline Forwarder Relationship

     “We also launched The CNS Partnership Conference. But I wanted our conference to be different. To us ‘Partnership’ was never about CNS, it was more about industry stakeholders’ objectives and needs. We never looked at the event as a big money-maker either, but rather our approach was to do what was good for air cargo.
     “The purpose was to bring airlines and forwarders together. From that simple premise we held our first conference in Tarpon Springs (near Tampa), Florida. We set up meeting tables of ten places each in the hall and assigned luck-of-the-draw seating to everyone.
     “The idea right out of the gate was to keep people from congregating with co-workers or best friends. We wanted to stimulate the conversation, the floor discussion, even debate,” Tony concluded in 2011.

CNS Partnership Conference attendees

Mike White, President of CNS

Mike White     Not since Tony Calabrese served as President during those heady days of hope for air cargo, has CNS had a more inventive and balanced advocate for air cargo and the airline forwarder shipper proposition than Mike White.
     I sometimes think as the chalets fill with customers at the annual Partnership Conference and then everybody gets together around the open trade show display halls and evening garden parties that Mike White brings the full menu to CNS leadership with so much more to give.
     Mike is a global air cargo treasure, and to lose CNS as he works to stabilize air cargo by bringing out the best and the brightest as the pandemic lessens, would be nothing less than a tragedy for the advancement of air cargo.
     To underscore why CNS Partnership and its current leadership matters, here for the record is what Mike said a few years ago about Tony Calabrese:
     “I have known Tony for years and I always kept in my mind his words about the CNS Partnership event he started.
     “‘Mike,” he said, “we started this to bring parties together and never forget why the word partnership has made the event such a success.
     “So, we continue to carry on what Tony started,” Mike told me.

Kenji Hashimoto

Speed dating Between Providers & Customers

     “At CNS our team reviews the feedback from attendees and listens to what our guests want and that continues to help make this the premier air cargo event to attend.
     “Networking and one-on-one meetings are a lot of work.
     “Many call this conference speed-dating between providers and customers.”
     “I hear every year from attendees that they are worn out, but in a good way. Where else can we see so many customers in one place and one time?
     “For many, more business is usually accomplished during the three-day event than the rest of the year combined,” Mike said.

CNS Greats

     Given these uncertain times, I am unsure how many more chances we will have to recall people that made Cargo Network Services a one of a kind successful organization.
     But here goes as we bring back for one more curtain call some of the many people who during the past 40 years have given of themselves in a genuine effort to make the air cargo industry better by supporting CNS.
     Guenter Rohrmann was a very dynamic board member and Chairman of CNS.
     During the early years, the CNS Board—both airlines and forwarder members—really gave the organization purpose.
 Lise-Marie Turpin and Donna Mullins    It was the CNS members who carried the ball and helped make things work.
     People like Cotton Daly (TWA), Buz Whalen (JAL), Pat Phelan (Aer Lingus), Ed Moritz (British), Isaac Nijankin (Varig), Jerry Trimboli (SAS), Bill Boesch (AA), Dave Brooks (AA), Lise-Marie Turpin, Air Canada, Jim Friedel (NWA), and of course others, including brokers and forwarders like Donna Mullins, Joel Ditkowsky and Jo Frigger (EMO Trans) to name three front-line outstanding leaders.
     “Our best work has been bringing the industry together,” Jo Frigger said this week.
     Thinking CNS Partnership, it’s good to remember one more time, and in fact should never be forgotten, the dedication and hard work from the man who transmuted good ideas into a great transportation organization—Tony Calabrese.
     Today Mike White, like Tony Calabrese, makes CNS great by carrying the organization around on broad shoulders, working to make a better air cargo industry every day.


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. 61
Time & The River
Chuckles for September 5, 2020
Air Cargo Took off above the Himalayas
Why FlyingTypers

Vol. 19 No. 62
Trust and the Market
Chuckles for September 14, 2020
Street Smart Cargo Show
The Indispensible Sherpas
Cargo on Fire Worldwide
Harold Hagans Lit the Sky above Atlanta

Vol. 19 No. 63
Ethel Aviation Guiding Light
Chuckles for September 21, 2020
Helicopter Lady
China is Once in the Future
Letters to the Editor

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

fblogoSend comments and news to geoffrey@aircargonews.com
Opinions and comments expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher but remain solely those of the author(s).
Air Cargo News FlyingTypers reserves the right to edit all submissions for length and content. All photos and written material submitted to this publication become the property of All Cargo Media.
All Cargo Media, Publishers of Air Cargo News Digital and FlyingTypers. Copyright ©2018 ACM, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
More@ www.aircargonews.com

recycle100% Green