Vol. 9  No. 116                                                    WE COVER THE WORLD                                      Friday October 29, 2010


     The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) Air Cargo Forum (ACF) will meet in AMS November 2-4.      TIACA finds itself in a unique position this year to lift all of air cargo as the first really big global air cargo event after the world financial crises.
     Everyone, therefore, has a stake in its success.
     A major question that still lingers is whether TIACA ACF is a bona fide international air cargo expo or just a regional beauty pageant the draws a predictable crowd of attendees and supporters to another gateway, with participants eager to get some exposure and willing to pay huge sums of money to host the event.
     The answer has to do with many factors, not the least of which is tracking the level of executives in and out of the air cargo business as well as others who will attend the show.
     AMS is to be sure the biggest and most central gateway that TIACA has visited in some time.
     Not that Kuala and Calgary, where the last two biennial events were held, are chopped liver, but Amsterdam Schiphol will be on the half shell at ACF as compared in Europe to say Frankfurt or Paris.
     Schiphol, just like many other aerial gateways in 2010, must cope with costs, location, and environmental and connectivity issues, not to mention the emergence of a plethora of less expensive airports.
     So good for AMS to go out and jump-start prospects by bringing the biggest air cargo show of 2010 to Amsterdam.
     What we are hearing from our readers out in the cargo areas is that they have considered ACF at AMS as being handled by local European staff.
     For example, we have heard from some small to medium companies that the show must be measured against the big multi-modal European event just six months down the road in Munich – Transport Logistik.
     "Amsterdam is just too damn expensive and better handled by our European people," one forwarder said.
     Maybe this sentiment is driven in part by the pace of recovery from the world financial meltdown, which seemed to end only just a few months ago after taking much of air cargo to the cleaners with business dipping in some places at alarming levels of 25 to 40 percent.
     Some people are certain to be gun shy about spending promotional monies hard earned only recently during the past few months, especially after losing or nearly losing their shirts during 2008 & 2009.
     Still, air cargo is part of an industry that today remains a most social and people-driven business.
     No doubt, the driver that stokes this industry for the better is quality face time amongst industry stakeholders and partners during multiple occasions held yearly.
     That means air cargo trade shows like TIACA do well for this industry in helping it to both survive and prosper.
     So, while we are hoping for a big turnout at AMS, we will also be looking for volume numbers amongst top executives, "the princes" of air cargo, who seem to show up at IATA conferences and elsewhere in big numbers, but have been less evident at more recent TIACA events.
     Beyond that, we are ready to embrace the promised pulse of change in the quality of the sessions and the pace and attendance of the show, plus clear delivery of the TIACA message that current Chairman of the organization, Uli Oggiermann, has promised to serve.
     A better TIACA show in AMS can certainly raise the prospect of an even greater event two years hence in Atlanta, Georgia.


TIACA Takes Off In AMS

     The aims are high-flying: streamline customs procedures worldwide, establish industry-government partnerships, reduce border impediments to speed up the supply chain, set international security standards, push E-Freight further ahead, and, and, and… These and many other heavyweight topics will undoubtedly swirl through the air during TIACA’s upcoming 25th International Air Cargo Forum & Exposition in Amsterdam. It would be fantastic for any of the above mentioned goals to gain additional momentum or even find fruition after TIACA has shut its doors, but experience tells us to retain a healthy bit of doubt.
     Why should Amsterdam accomplish what Bilbao or Calgary, to mention only two AFC gatherings, has failed to do? Has any TIACA changed anything of the enormous royalty fees imposed by Russia on European carriers for crossing Siberian air space, although according to the Chicago Convention the tariff is completely illegal? No visible attempt or result yet.
     The same goes for the large number of countries that have granted hidden subsidiaries to carriers in order to foster their airlines’ distortion of global competition. Or the monopolies at many airports for protecting expensive and ill-working national “service” providers. There are still far too many despite all efforts by carriers and forwarding agents to liberalize aviation in general, and the cargo business specifically, on a global scale.
     Not to be unfair, most of these foul plays can only be abolished step by step if governments are willing to take action and sign bilateral or, even better, international treaties for establishing a level playing field in aviation.
      Being an aggregate of dozens of different interests, TIACA can only support such aims and proclaim common goals for driving the cargo industry forward. Because of the multitude of interests covered by the broad TIACA umbrella, nobody should expect miracles from the Amsterdam show. After all, this club is kind of a United Nations for the cargo industry; hence a coalition of grand compromises based on the lowest common denominator.
     Then why in the world should Amsterdam-held AFC be “the event you can’t afford to miss!” as organizers officially proclaimed. “It’s the biz, stupid,“ Bill Clinton might say. That, presumably, is the core trigger for the more than 3,000 participants and over 250 exhibitors expecting to capitalize on the show by getting new business.
     We spoke to some industry people to get their opinions. Commercial Director Mark Grinsted of GSA Globe Air Cargo bluntly put it this way: “We intend to establish new contacts with potential airline clients and deepen existing ties.” He surely speaks for the silent majority that might attend a session or panel here and there, but mainly attends, to legitimize their presence, to network and establish new economic ties that pay off after Amsterdam is done.
     “Networking” is the main attraction that led to Swiss WorldCargo’s head of air freight Oliver Evans’ decision to attend the AFC. “This event offers an attractive wide mix of industry stakeholders,” he said. As example he points to the participation of FIATA that will deliver the forwarder’s perspective on issues like real-time shipment information, regulatory changes, innovative supply chain management, and the mounting pressure to deliver greater cost efficiencies.
     Ram Menen, VP of Emirates SkyCargo, emphasized that this group will “truly [be] a representation of all elements of our industry coming together to create a new norm/harmony for tomorrow. It is a great networking opportunity, especially for the survivors of the ‘perfect storm.’”
     But Mr. Menen ensures that it is not just about networking: “Environmental issues are also on the agenda as come 2012, the industry could be in for some surprises!”
     The European Shippers’ Council and the Dutch Shippers’ Council, two track sessions on November 4th, which will debate the role of shippers in today’s air freight market, should also be enlightening. To get forwarding agents and especially shippers to join the event is a major attraction of this year’s ACF, states Evans.
      Menen agrees: “TIACA can really shine in creating transparent and better communication inter-alia amongst all entities within the supply chain and the logistics to optimize operational productivity and achieve better cost efficiencies for all concerned.”
     Amsterdam being a mainstream cargo hub seems to be a good pick by TIACA. “Amsterdam definitely is the right location as it is a major cargo hub and very easy to get to. Infrastructure-wise, it has one of the best cargo distribution capabilities in Europe. The challenge with Bilbao was that it was off the trunk route and a difficult place to access,” said Ram Menen, referring to a past TIACA that took place in Bilbao, Spain.
     Far better than remote locations, agrees forwarding agent Damco’s CEO, Rolf Habben Jansen, (left) locations that had been chosen by TIACA more than once in the past, although they were difficult to attend for the participants. During a roundtable talk on November 2nd, the Danish forwarding agent will reveal the basics of the company’s new air freight strategy.
Heiner Siegmund


Oliver Evans, chief cargo officer at Swiss World Cargo, is a nice guy—and smart as well.
    On the eve of TIACA Amsterdam, an event that surely will have more than its share of forward-looking statements,     Oliver amplifies his above statements with a fascinating view of what the air cargo business might look like in 2020.
    In any case when he decides to give up his day job (or expand it) he can write for us anytime.
    Unlike all those recent proclamations from IATA about where the air transport world will be in 2050 (who the hell will be around to hold up the veracity of any of those predictions?), here, the erstwhile Evans casts his eye forward via his excellent Blog:
    “In the year 2020, as millions across Asia have attained the living standards of the developed world, the demand for air cargo and air travel has continued to grow exponentially. Geographical and environmental constraints and congestion have forced airlines to swap slots previously used for intra European flights to use them for additional intercontinental flights, so that passengers travel to their hubs by rail. Similarly, road and warehouse access congestion has been eased by replacing road feeder services by rail transport.
    “The consolidation of the airline industry has reached a new stage of maturity after many intercontinental acquisitions and mergers so that 2 or 3 truly global airline groups have emerged, mainly led from the new economic and political powerhouse China.
    “The archaic airwaybill has become a thing of the past. Smart IT companies have realized the nonsense of developing customized solutions for inventory management of each airline, each forwarder and each handling company. They have also realized the ghastly waste of money that was poured throughout the 2010s into ever more complex screening processes. Thus the industry has been rescued from an armament race by deploying intelligent GPS systems that not only track every shipment sent by air, but monitor its condition and temperature, thereby making screening obsolete. Forwarders, airlines and handlers now have access to (and update) relevant shipment data in industry wide inventory systems.
    “You may gather from the above that I am optimistic indeed, but I am so for a_reason: not because I think that all of the above will actually be achieved within the next 10 years (or within the next 100, come to think of it) but I do believe that it is the great benefit of optimism to provide us with positive and demanding goals.
    “It is only with such goals in mind that we will muster the energy to go beyond the limitations of the status quo and be persistent enough to achieve more than just the possible._
    “Which is, if you ask me, what we should always expect from ourselves."


Gabriela Ahrens

Carine Zablit

Bettina Jansen

Karen Avestruz


Air Cargo News FlyingTypers leads the way again as the world’s first air cargo publication to connect the industry to the broadly expanding and interactive base for social commentary—Twitter.
     Here are updates from Twitter. To be added to this 24/7/365 service at no-charge contact: acntwitter@aircargonews.com

October 28:  Korean Air A380 (first of 14 come next May) roomy with only 400 seats. Maybe KAL should have bought a smaller airplane?

October 28:  A federal jury said FedEx must pay $66 million to now-defunct ATA Airlines, saying the package delivery company broke a contract that ultimately pushed ATA into bankruptcy. The jury for the U.S. District Court in Indianapolis awarded ATA $22 million for lost profit in 2008 and $44 million for lost profit in 2009.

October 28:   Emirates Oct 31 adds 10 services or 3,770 seats per week between Dubai and Riyadh and Jeddah, a71% increase.

October 28:   Florida Custom Brokers & Forwarders 11th Golf Tournament Jauary 19, 2011 at Country Club of Miami. Registration & Lunch 11:00am Awards & Dinner. www.fcbf.com

October 28:  3PL Damco named Erez Agmoni as its Regional Airfreight Manager in Asia Pacific based in Bangkok.

October 28:
 Wild night Thursday in Zurich as 6 lions (from different places in Eastern Europe) party on Swiss World Cargo en-route to South Africa.

October 28:   KLM goes AMS/MIA 4X weekly March 27, 2011 re-launching a service dormant since September 2004.


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