Appeared originally on January 20, 2015.
It was Samuel
Johnson who observed that languages are the pedigrees of nations. And
it was Oliver Evans, chief cargo officer of Swiss International Airlines
and chairman of The International Air Cargo Association, who leaned on
those pedigrees to broaden his executive and managerial talents in a global
air cargo universe.
Master of five languages, he has directed
his attention toward the growth of new business capabilities to meet today’s
challenges head-on. Over the decades in the transportation industry, Mr.
Evans has “deliberately shaped” his career to amass experience
as part of different logistical thrusts in different countries.
Asked to comment on the current state
of the transatlantic cargo market, Mr. Evans noted that despite media
reports of economic recovery, “especially in the United States,”
he stated that “the opposite is true of Europe where many countries
are stagnating or even threatened by recession.” (On the other side
of the world, Japan has fallen into another recession.) There was hope
in the fact that 2014 experienced a recovery of air freight volumes, but
that bit of good news took a steep nosedive under the impact of a “spectacular
increase in capacity.”
He held that overcapacity on the transatlantic
run drove rates for many large general cargo traffic to a point where
“they no longer cover variable costs.” Add to the foregoing
shifts in modal transportation, miniaturization, and “gadget convergence,”
and re-engineering in the supply chain. Insofar as Swiss WorldCargo is
concerned, its principal focus is on “care-intensive” products
that require solid reliability—an area of service that brings “a
The iron dictates of geography have
imposed certain constraints on Swiss WorldCargo whose home base is landlocked.
Long ago it turned its back on competing for volume, instead focusing
on specific markets.
The carrier’s concentration
on market specialization—temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals and
laboratory and high-tech material, for example—has proved to be
a wise course to follow. Remarking on the tough year 2014 turned out to
be for the industry, Mr. Evans drew obvious satisfaction from SWC’s
results which were “ahead of budget for the year to date.”
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