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   Vol. 14  No. 33
Monday April 20, 2015

Lufthansa Cargo Ad

Dr. Alexis von Hoensbroech and Achim Martinka   Kicking off CNS Partnership in Orlando on Sunday was a customer meet & greet event hosted by Board Member Product & Sales at Lufthansa Cargo Dr. Alexis von Hoensbroech (L), pictured with Vice President Americas Achim Martinka (R).
   We asked Dr. Hoensbroech how he finds America, as CNS is his first event in the Americas since he assumed command on December 1.
   His reply was at once fun and in the spirit of the moment:
   “I turned left at Greenland,” Alexis said with a broad smile.
   “I’m still the new kid on the block, but I’m really enjoying the closeness of the relationships we can develop as air cargo business partners.
   “This is truly a unique industry with great people and even greater potential,” he said.
   Held in a packed-but-comfortable, wood-lined, brass rail saloon off to one side of the big hotel, the event was a smashing success.
   Alexis—who is young, smart, accessible and hard at work building both airline and industry—flew into town and won the day here in Florida. His presence is like a breath of fresh air.
   It’s the way it ought to be.

They say the best things in life are free. One look at the joy and friendship in this picture, taken almost twenty years ago, will confirm that. 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.

     As Cargo Network Services (CNS) gathers this week in Orlando, Florida, for its 25th Annual “Partnership Conference,” a private survey of a representative group of air freight forwarders and cargo agents disclosed the existence of widespread doubts in IATA’s core adherence to the principle of the airline-intermediary “partnership.”
     Respondents largely indicated that the turnaround in forwarder/agent opinion deepened as a direct loss of independent authority and action, and the organization’s reduction to just another IATA unit.
     Over the past quarter-century, the annual CNS partnership conferences have gained worldwide prominence. As seen by most of the interviewees, the “partnership” now tilts in favor of the air carriers.

Present At The Creation

     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—but before I continue with this report, I find it necessary to outline the air cargo industry landscape at that time. 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. Our nexus, I think, was a shared love of classical music. 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?

I Told You So

     “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. 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.”

     First of all, you have to love the classical overtones.
     Tom Grubb, manager, Cold Chain Strategy at American Airlines, knows a lot about what he does, and like any true devotee he loves his work and makes no secret of it!
     “The air cargo cold chain is like a symphony orchestra, with many performers playing in harmony as a cohesive group.
     “Seamlessly playing as one not only demands professionals skilled in their respective instruments; it is also requires that all participants read from the same score.
     “In the pharmaceutical cold chain, safely and effectively moving time- and temperature-sensitive products means all stakeholders need to follow the same standards, regulations, and best practices.”
     Tom actually told us that a couple years ago and it caught our attention. People who take joy in their work touch us like that.
     Fast forward to 2015 and Tom once again assures that at AA Cargo, the heat is on cool chain solutions.
     “American is poised for added growth.
     “We just opened a dedicated, state-of-the-art Pharmaceutical & Healthcare handling facility at the Philadelphia International Airport.
     “The facility has significant capacity for Controlled Room Temperature (CRT: +15°C to +25°C) as well as a refrigerated cold room (COL: +2°C to +8°C).

CRT: +15°C to +25°C

     “There is a dedicated active container management (ACM) area with plug-in stations for up to 30 equivalent RKN electronic-type units and the facility has an independent power backup system.
     “American’s commitment to cold chain is shown in the numerous enhancements we have made to many of American’s facilities across our network.
     “This is crucial to insure we continue to meet and exceed the expectations of customers.

Active Container Management (ACM), Front Dock

Learning Develops Significant Benefits

      “American Airlines Cargo has gained significant experience with temperature control, since launching its “ExpediteTC° services over 5 years ago.
     “We began with ground-up development of our Active services and, after some experience with Active, we developed our Passive service offering.
     “We continue to invest in our ExpediteTC° program in terms of process evaluation, program features, and infrastructure—including implementation of Controlled Room Temperature (CRT +15°C to +25°C) facilities in key stations across our network.
     “This also includes a brand new, dedicated pharmaceutical & healthcare handling facility.
     “We were one of the very first air carriers to implement annual recurrent training for all our employees responsible for temperature-controlled shipments and this extends to our ground-handling partners.
     “We are currently working on new training tools this year to insure the very best cold chain understanding for our employees.
     “This way, they can provide the very best service for our customers.
     “Most importantly, when it comes to temperature-sensitive programs, is understanding customer needs and how their products change over time.
     “In this way, we will continue to update American’s solutions in order to meet customer and product requirements.”

Tom Terrific

      As Manager of Cold Chain Strategy, Grubb leads global time and temperature sensitive logistics services for American Airlines Cargo. A 23-year veteran of American’s Cargo division, Grubb previously served in Operations as manager of Customer Service Strategy, where he was pivotal in the development of American’s Active and Passive cold chain services, ExpediteTC. During his tenure with American Airlines Cargo, he has implemented strategic sales initiatives as well as operational solutions for American’s product and services portfolio.
     Mr. Grubb is currently a member of the IATA Time and Temperature Task Force (TTTF).

Today & Tomorrow

     “American continues to see solid growth of our temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical and healthcare business in 2014. Product complexities, as well as increasingly stringent regulatory requirements, contribute to the growing need for specialized supply chain solutions, which keep medicines safe and effective for patients.
     “American’s temperature-controlled solution provides the features desired by customers and we continue to enhance and evolve the program with added benefits, which pharmaceutical manufacturers and freight forwarders indicate are requisite for properly handling these materials.
     “Our vast network capability is coupled with the robust and reliable processes built into ExpediteTC°, which are designed to protect delicate healthcare shipments.
     “This is complemented by the recent roll-out of the ExpediteTC° process across the American Airlines’ extended network following our merger with US Airways. Philadelphia, for example, is a prime location in the heart of the U.S. pharmaceutical corridor which, when coupled with the world’s largest airline, provides temperature-controlled cargo capability to/from Europe, Latin America, and the Pacific.
     “Our ExpediteTC program is designed strictly for the pharma and healthcare sectors.
     “This is critical given the regulatory requirements for separation of pharmaceuticals and foodstuffs to avoid cross-contamination. That said, American also has an excellent perishables program which can certainly assist any customers with their flowers, produce, fish, etc.”

Cool-Chain Closer Look

     “As an industry, I think we are all working very diligently to address the concerns with all modes of transportation.
     “Given that airport operational environments can be very challenging, it is critical that solutions like ExpediteTC° are implemented, evaluated from a quality perspective, and refined to insure maximum protection for these delicate products.
     “Pharmaceutical manufacturers, forwarders, air carriers, and all members of the temperature-controlled supply chain must address these requirements by working together.
     “In addition to the needed training, processes, and infrastructure, a key imperative is that all supply chain participants need to be informed and aware of as well as adapt to changing temperature-sensitive regulations, particularly due to the fact that pharmaceutical distribution standards are not universal.
     “As an example, the EU’s Good Distribution Practices (GDP) quality assurance guidelines have certainly been the focus of much discussion in the past few years, but so too are the regulations from U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), etc. as examples.
     “Each of these can have differing perspectives and this also extends to individual countries’ customs authorities. It is these complexities which are helping to drive growth and rapid change in the temperature-controlled supply chain, as well as the need for enhanced collaboration between all participants.”
     Talking containers here wondering if you are thinking as a former ops guy about cool-chain containers of today and tomorrow? What for example does the pharma container do today and what looking ahead do you think will be the container of tomorrow?
     The newer, electronic units of today are easier to maintain, rechargeable, maintain more accurate temperature ranges, etc. as compared to the dry ice variants developed in the late 1990s which are still in use today. With the tighter restrictions on temperature control, I would expect you will see vendors working on continuing improvement of accurate temperature maintenance capabilities but also perhaps the reduction in the size/weight of these mechanisms, technology permitting. Currently, the systems required are not small and therefore take up payload capacity. Perhaps in the future, these mechanisms can be reduced in size and enable better temp control with less weight and bulk.      Also, the ability to have more “real-time” communication with the units including product temperature and unit status is becoming much more desirable as delicate products move through the supply chain. This is happening today but still there is much room for added capabilities as monitoring requirements increase.

   The highlight of any big gathering is always the keynote speech.
   Ram Menen is the speaker this year at CNS Partnership, having retired from Emirates SkyCargo two years ago after shepherding the enterprise from a 1985 start-up into a leader of international logistics.
   To be sure, Ram built a first–class team, something he is never reluctant to share with anyone who will listen.
   But along the way Ram Menen also became the clear voice of reason and support for several air cargo organizations.
   While developing SkyCargo into a global powerhouse and all that entails, Ram Menen somehow found the time and had the heart to help almost everyone.
   In this regard, Ram Menen can be considered a true great, and beyond that, as history lengthens, the greatest airline cargo executive in history.
   Now he is the CNS Keynoter for the Monday April 20th morning session.
   But there is no thought of coming back to cargo.
   Ram says emphatically:
   “I enjoy my retirement and have no thought of returning. But air cargo as we all know is a heart and soul thing. You simply cannot turn off, drop out, and never think about this business, especially after spending your whole life serving this industry.
   “Lately, keeping a weathered eye out as air cargo development continues, I am thinking about this industry we all love in a different light, as an outsider.
   “I am reminded of what George Bernard Shaw wrote in 1903 for his play Man and Superman:
   “‘The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself.
   “‘Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.’

   “Today the challenges of air cargo—for both the individual and the companies involved—have never been greater.
   “But there is a sameness to what we do and say at our meetings and gatherings that despite the efforts of many seem to stifle our potential.
   “I love my front row seat in the gallery, watching the game without the stress the players go through. I can see the entire arena and get a better perspective of the game.
   “I can let my mind wander without any constraints and see what we can achieve in a very evolving world where traditional barriers are being ripped apart by disruptive technological developments.
   “Yes, I am optimistic looking at the future.
   “I believe we need to continue to develop and nourish the partnership, working together and helping each other so that the great international air cargo community our industry has become can ensure its future,” Ram said.
   Superman may have retired and put away his uniform and cape, but it’s good to know that in 2015, for a few days at least, industry superhero Ram Menen is out there flying among us.

Echoes 1975-2015   The year 2015 marks our 40th year in the world of air cargo news reporting—first as Air Cargo News and now as FlyingTypers.
   The stewardship of Air Cargo News FlyingTypers hasn't changed since 1975, and while that is an impressive feat, what is even more remarkable is that in 2015 we have been fortunate to present the writings of the nearly 102-year-old Richard Malkin, who remains the first air cargo reporter in history (circa 1942) and now serves as FlyingTypers' Senior Editor.
Here Richard continues a remembrance of events in an exclusive year-long series, "Echoes 1975-2015."

1999 CNS Rising
  Cargo Network Services’ computerized AWB number distribution service was upped to 38 with the joining of two U.S. and two foreign-flag air carriers: Trans World Airlines, United Airlines, TACA, and New Zealand Airways. It was noted that air freight forwarder and IATA cargo agent users have expanded to slightly under 1,800.
  Under the CNS-developed system, airlines provide blocks of serial numbers as well as a list of forwarders and agents authorized to receive their numbers for computerized AWBs.   Requests are made to CNS via fax to supply a pre-authorized group of numbers. Daily and monthly recaps of transactions performed. The service is without charge to forwarders and agents.
Richard Malkin

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Vol 14 No. 30
Qatar Lights Up Sri Lanka
ABC Easy As 1, 2, 3
Chuckles For April 7, 2015
Rates & Spring Hearten April
April Showers Turkish Cargo
Angela Has Inspired Us All
High Times
Waxing Moon Plane
Everybody Loves A Good Egg
Vol. 14 No. 31
Echoes 1975-2015
Flying Down To Sao Paulo
FedEx Ignites TNT
Chuckles For April 13, 2015
A Brief Encounter In Toluca
CAL Cargo Goes To School On Pharma
Swisserfic Summer
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