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Family Aid 2020
   Vol. 20 No. 22
Friday June 11, 2021
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.
     What that might mean is that the voice of CNS, the expertise of CNS as a viable organization, will be gone.
     That would augur 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 is still in business on paper and has a suit named Leger to sidestep the antitrust rule which brought CNS into formation 30 years ago in the first place.
     Right now you can really feel the pain of airlines everywhere, that according to IATA, “will recover to 43% of 2019 levels over the year. Although that is a 26% improvement on 2020, it is far from a recovery.”
     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.

The Airline/The Forwarder

     Last fall we asked two industry stalwarts their views on CNS. This is what they said:

Jan Krems     “IATA and Cargo Network Services (CNS) must recognize that CNS needs to maintain a strong voice for the airline forwarder partnership,” said Jan Krems, President of United Airlines Cargo.
     “The CNS Partnership is and will remain a vital force for good as the industry works to get things back to normal.
     “We need our trusted organizations to bring us together and make sure that cooperation between all parties not only maintains a single standardized system in place, but also advances our offering through cooperation that touches every aspect of the logistics supply chain.
     “Air cargo cannot carry the airline business alone.
     “For all of us up and down the line in all aspects of our industry to be as good as we want to be, we need the unique opportunities for cooperation that the CNS advocacy offers working for the advancement and betterment of the entire logistics industry.”

Joachim Frigger      The late Joachim Frigger, Chairman of EMO Trans, which has been a continued advocate of CNS Partnership Conference for decades, said:
     “The formation of CNS always was and still is a great opportunity for meaningful dialogue between the airlines and freight forwarders.
     “We have always supported this goal and hope that going forward, a balanced view of all participants and their business interests can be maintained.
     “I do regret that CNS has only been created in the U.S. and that this model has not been expanded to other worldwide areas like Europe, Asia, Middle East, and Latin America.
     “The advantage of close cooperation between partners becomes more evident in today's global markets, as geopolitical developments create a great deal of division and uncertainty for all involved.”

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.”

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?”

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.”

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.’
Richard Malkin

CNS Partnership Conference attendees

In The Picture: The greatest air cargo people in the world. Hopeful that we will all be together again.

If You Missed Any Of The Previous 3 Issues Of FlyingTypers
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Vol. 20 No. 19
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The underworld at IndiGo
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Vol. 20 No. 20
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Pumping Traffic
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Vol. 20 No. 21
Ring Down The Curtain On Cargo Shows 2021
Chuckles for June 7, 2021
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Every Can Can
Hands Across The Table

Publisher-Geoffrey Arend • Managing Editor-Flossie Arend • Editor Emeritus-Richard Malkin
Film Editor-Ralph Arend • Special Assignments-Sabiha Arend, Emily Arend

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