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Family Aid 2020
   Vol. 22 No. 8
Wednesday March 1, 2023

Joel Ditkowsky-A Custom Broker's Broker

     A well-known and liked, long-time organizer and advocate for Customs Brokers in New York and beyond named Joel Ditkowsky Friday February 17.
     “I delivered my first consignment to KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, a shipment of Rabies Vaccine in 1954 bound for Amsterdam,” he once told me.
     “I was 17 years old just out of high school and that was a summer job memory that stayed with me forever,” he said.
     Air cargo can gently be reminded post Covid, what goes around comes around.
     His friend and working colleague Valerie Caulfield, Managing Member at Customs and Trade paid loving tribute:
     “Joel was a selfless man, always wanting to help his fellow brokers with problems.
     “He leaned in and it came from his heart.
     “I am grateful to have worked alongside Joel for decades as a fellow Customs Broker, member of the JFK Airport Brokers Association where he served as President, Semantics, and the NCBFAA Shippers Association, Inc..
     “He was a well-respected gentleman and a friend, but he was also very funny and fun, a real down to earth human being,” Valerie recalled.
     Joel, as Customs Compliance Officer at Freight Brokers Global Service Inc. became a fixture in Cargo Building 80, the Customs Brokers home in the center of the original cargo area at Idlewild Airport, today’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.
     Joel gained global fame raising recognition for Brokers and cargo to local governing committees and legislators in Washington and elsewhere.
     Joel served as Vice President, of the JFK Airport Custom Brokers and Freight Forwarders Association, chairing its Airline Committee for over 30 years.
     He was a Member of the Board of the JFK Chamber of Commerce, as Legislative and Government Affairs Chairman.
     At Kings Point Merchant Marine Academy he conducted courses and organized field trips on Cargo Security, Customs Process, Intermodalism and more at the airport.
     Across several decades, there were scores of offices and thousands of Brokers in Cargo Building 80.
     Most had originally moved offices from shipside in Manhattan as the airplanes took over the passenger business post World War II.
     Joel came to the airport with “fresh eyes” in the 1950s, elevating respect for Customs Brokers.
     Eventually his passion also became a centerpiece of his business life.
     Today Building 80, which was so important in developing the culture of air cargo brokerage pumping traffic around the world, and Joel Ditkowsky, who proudly carried that banner, are both gone.
     The JFK Air Cargo Association honored Joel as Person of the Year over a decade ago at their Annual Air Cargo Day.
     JFK once handled 60% of all international USA air traffic and Joel was there.
     Why not a plaque somewhere near where both Joel and people that served in Cargo Building 80 made history by setting standards still in use today worldwide? We should not forget.
     Happy landings always, Joel.

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