When it comes to air cargo, The International
Air Transport Association (IATA) seems to be adapting
a bunker mentality in 2020 as top management and other key personnel connected
to air cargo are retiring in droves.
Glyn Hughes, IATA Head of Cargo departs
IATA in January, and Mike White, President of IATA Cargo Network Services
(CNS) will depart by year’s end.
Add to that the diminishing number of support
staff at IATA in Geneva, including maybe all the team at CNS in Miami.
Some in air cargo may feel like those “Six Characters Looking for
an Author” a la Luigi Pirandello; a family of industry people left
incomplete by an author who can’t finish the work for which we were
Scrambling To Get The Message Straight
As you read this, the previously announced
CNS Partnership Conference for next year to be held in Miami April 25-
April 27, 2021 is still on, but with COVID-19 an issue, don’t hold
Long term we hear there are no plans to
merge CNS Partnership Conference into IATA World Cargo Symposium.
But with Mike White and his staff gone after
December 31, CNS, which is supposedly the middle ground between airline
and forwarder, is left to disappear as a semi free-standing entity into
IATA, an airline-driven trade organization.
Meantime IATA is scrambling to get its story
straight and should be ready to clarify all of this some time before the
end of the year.
The Airline Forwarder Rendezvous
CNS is a brilliant opportunity for transportation;
a long sought and hard fought-for medium where for the past 30 plus years
the voice of the forwarder can be heard face-to-face with the airlines.
Right now, as the challenges for the business
today and tomorrow have never been greater, CNS should be a vital force
in not only bringing people together, but also driving the best and brightest
among us to think collectively toward the future.
CNS has an opportunity here, despite all
the bad news swirling around in 2020, to do some good.
We Need CNS Networking
All of us in logistics have been cooped
up for eight months and need each other to exchange thoughts and ideas.
While the traditional methodology to achieve
the "partnership goals" and aspirations may be blunted for some
time yet to come as we await deliverance from COVID-19, CNS, which has
always been supported by the airline and forwarder community, needs to
be there for us now.Ahead A Bleak Mid-Winter.
For Trade Shows
Expect under current circumstances that
IATA World Cargo Symposium and CNS Partnership will not take place in
2021 alongside a slew of other cancelled or delayed events worldwide.
No doubt some new thinking is in order.
But with no CNS President and no IATA Head
of Cargo after December 31 where does all of this leave us?
Perhaps CNS President Mike White, who we
are told will be in place until December 31, and the CNS Board might organize
a Zoom conference to update the industry as to what to expect next, while
also allowing for a question and answer interface?
Where Have You Gone Tony Calabrese?
Can only wonder if CNS Pioneer Tony Calabrese,
the man who built the brand serving as President for 15 years, is able
to pick up the sword and get CNS going once again?
Anybody know where Tony is these days?
Brandon To The Rescue?
very concerned individual in all of this is Airforwarder Association President
Brandon Fried. In fact, we also spoke to Jenni Latham Frigger, (left)
VP Sales & Marketing of EMO Trans Logistics who serves as a member
of the AfA board and here is what they said.
“The Airforwarders Association,”
Brandon Fried declared, “considers all local, national, and global
industry conferences as critically important to the air cargo industry.
“Each event has its specific value
in providing more education, networking, and promotion of our industry.
Some events offer more benefits than others, but all continue to evolve
in the quality of content provided.”
AfA Issues Open Call For Greater
“The CNS Partnership Conference has
been a noteworthy event since its inception, and Airforwarders Association
members have participated in all of them.
“As customers of international airlines,
the forwarder partnership and agenda is more important than ever in meeting
shipper expectations and providing quality service.
“While we have no first-hand knowledge
of IATA’s plans for CNS and its Partnership Conference, we are ready
and willing to work with them to ensure the best event to serve the vibrant
and continually evolving industry which we represent,” Brandon Fried
A New Step Every Day
“During this time of global challenge
and change within IATA and CNS, the Airforwarders Association reminds
all that adversity frequently opens new opportunities for those willing
to embrace change.
“Let’s work together to provide
the best path forward for our members,” Brandon Fried concluded.
We like Brandon as he builds a pathway to the
future with a new step every day.
We also like what American Airline Cargo
President Jessica Tyler said:
“IATA and CNS are critical to our
industry and the role we play in the world, but guess what, these organizations
are made up of incredibly talented people. If something happens that shakes
up these entities or how they are organized or led, we – the talented
people of this great industry - we WILL find a way. We always do.
“We is this industry and all the people
in it and all the people in these governing bodies.
“We will figure it out.
“We is all of us.”
There is no shortage of opinions about CNS
pulling way back in USA. Some industry people are busy trying to save
their failing enterprises as COVID-19 isolates and divides us, and even
think that maybe if they just work at their business, CNS might sort itself
“I worry,” a forwarder source
who asked to not be identified mused, ”if they have it in their
heart to take CNS down, and I scream that they are giant jerks, it will
only make them want to do this more.
“The underlying issue at IATA is they
they do not necessarily recognize our value.”
Voice of the Forwarder
But what about the shipper? Where the rubber
meets the road, here is the voice of someone moving cargo all over the
world day after day, pandemic or otherwise.
Jenni Frigger-Latham is VP sales and marketing
at Emo Trans, a company that been implementing customized global logistics
solutions for over 50 years.
With 250 offices in 120 countries, EMO Trans
has been an active partner at CNS.
Here indeed is a great example of a privately-held
company with the robust infrastructure of a multi-national leader.
“The role of Indirect Air Carriers
(IAC) and the shipper is mandated by the TSA. But that is not the only
reason we are important.
“As long as we have the critical role
in serving the first and last mile of the shipping process, binding together
the supply chain as a whole, we feel it is imperative that we maintain
as much infrastructure as possible, thinking not only of demand right
now but also the days ahead when the current crises subsides,” Jenni
“Afa Board Member Jenni continued:
“It is both sad and unsettling to
see such important infrastructure go away, especially now during COVID-19,”
“EMO Trans and most forward-thinking
business is now planning for what will happen when this is over and what
will be the fastest way to ramp back up.
“We are eager to have the networking
and ongoing communication that CNS, and when possible, its Annual Partnership
Conference can provide.”
“CNS provides a place for all of us
to go to network and learn important things, including greater cooperation
working together to build the industry.
“Right now that experience in whatever
form it takes, driven by CNS leadership, is more important than ever.
“The concerns that drove the formation
of CNS more than 30 years ago remain top priorities in 2020,” Jenni