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   Vol. 16 No. 2
Thursday January 5, 2017

Performance Not Promises

For Delta 2017 Is Going To Be A Very Good Year

      Talk about a baptism by fire.
      One day Gareth Joyce is sailing down a long ribbon highway as president of Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc., and the next he is flying through some of the more turbulent airline business years as president of Delta Cargo.
      “Delta Cargo is undergoing a transformation,” Mr. Joyce said in an exclusive interview. “We are building a business that is innovative, thoughtful, and reliable.
      “Our planes are already getting to their destination more reliably than any other global U.S. carrier; now we have to deliver that same level of reliability to our cargo customers.
      “We have used 2016 to learn and listen.
      “We are out in the marketplace asking our customers what they would like to see and plan to build our business around their needs.”

   Delta Dash    
GPS-Enabled Same Day Service

      “A great example of how we intend to leverage these lessons is the launch of DASH Critical & Medical, the first fully GPS-enabled, same-day product offered by a U.S. freight provider.
      “With a strong network and enhanced connectivity through SkyTeam Cargo and our JV partners, we make routing efficient and more cost effective.
      “Looking ahead for 2017, Delta Cargo will continue to enhance and differentiate our DASH products to enrich our domestic offering.
      “Internationally, we are testing new services that better meet the needs of our customers and we look forward to sharing more details in 2017.”

Freight Forwarder Critical

      “At Delta Cargo, we see freight forwarders as critical partners in our success as we are working with these key stakeholders to improve our business and ensure that it better meets their needs.

Delta Difference Comes Into Focus

      “Our vast network sets Delta apart from the competition.
      “But that’s not enough.
      “We offer a range of products and services, continuously assessing which of these are most valuable to our partners.
      For instance, Delta Cargo is well down the path of CEIV certification across our network to support best in class Pharma shipments in all of our hubs and major gateways.
      “We are also moving to 24/7 customer service support for both our Call Center and Day or Departure team.
      “We are building a Cargo team that can deliver unparalleled reliability for our customers and that will serve to further distance Delta Cargo from our competitors.
      “This extends beyond Delta Cargo to our strategic and JV partners as we work to create the best cargo experience.”
The Promise

      “Innovation is a brand promise with Delta and we’ll be delivering on that with Delta Cargo moving forward.
      “For us, innovation means that we can develop, test, and introduce products and services that better meet the needs of our key customers.
      “We are working to provide greater visibility to shipments along their journey.
      “Through enhanced customer experience, technology investment, and metrics-driven performance, we are building a cargo provider that puts the customer first and earns their loyalty through outstanding performance.”

What Works

      “As an industry, air cargo can work to better meet the needs of our customers.
      “Electronic AWBs, simplification, and automation are key themes.
      “Air cargo should continue discussing policies that impact the air cargo space to make it easier to do business with us.”

Easy To Do Business

      “Delta Cargo brings differentiated products and services tailored and developed around customer needs, like our 24/7 customer service support.
      “Shippers also benefit from our technology investment in track and trace and specialized product development in areas such as Pharma. Delta is continuing to expand internationally and as the airline looks into new opportunities to connect the world, Delta Cargo is becoming more connected with global trade.
      “For example in 2016, Delta operated nine new international segments, providing more connectivity into Germany, Italy, Japan, and France.
      “Next year Delta has seven newly announced routes, with three new markets. Also in 2017 Delta commences accepting delivery of 25 A350 aircraft, enabling further expansion of our cargo offering, alongside our JV partners,” Gareth Joyce concluded.


Miki and Julie collins

     Identical twins Miki and Julie Collins trap, hunt, fish, and garden in Alaska's wilderness just north of Denali National Park.
      Their closest companions are loyal sled dogs and Icelandic horses, which eat salted fish and can withstand northern extremes.
      Whether taking a 1,900-mile excursion around Alaska by dog sled, defending their huskies from a charging grizzly, or dealing with a panicked horse in an airborne plane, the Collins sisters offer a new perspective on life in the northland.
      Theirs is an unusual lifestyle, even by Alaska standards.
      When loss of a freezer threatened their trapping livelihood, the twins turned to air cargo. Julie wrote a story about the shipping experience that we originally published in 2008.

Life On The Denali

Exclusive—Lake Minchumina, Alaska
      The checkout clerk was curious but polite. “You don't want to buy cereal for awhile?” she tactfully inquired, surveying the 40 boxes in my shopping cart.
      “My freezer broke last week, and you don't have time to hear the rest of the story,” I replied gloomily.
      The clerk didn't have time, but you, dear reader, may read on if you wish, or click away if you don't.
      The freezer failure didn't surprise us; after all, it was almost 40 years old.
      The problem was replacing it.
      Freezers reach this Bush community by air, and you can't fit a 24-cubic-foot freezer in our little mail plane.
      The only charter available was a DC-6A (C119 Liftmaster) that cost $4,254 (2008 dollars) and carried 28,000 pounds.
      Now, the freezer itself only cost $470, and you could fit about 90 of them on a plane that size.
      This is typical of life in the Bush: Your freezer breaks down and you have to buy 28,000 pounds of stuff to fill up the plane.
      OK. I flew to town and started buying. The buildings around our place were getting run down, so I started with construction materials. Roofing, flooring, stovepipe, cement, greenhouse materials, deep cycle batteries, water storage tanks, gutters, tarpaper, plywood, and other lumber.
      Fuel is hard to transport too, so I ordered seven drums of gas and a jug of propane.
      “Your total so far is 5,401 pounds,” Sheryl from Everts Air Cargo told me after my fourth pickup load. I felt sick.
      Usually the whole village joins in to fill up a big charter like this, but so far nobody else had delivered anything. There were other complications, too. Our neighbor Bill Janusz had generously loaned us his empty freezer, but he would need it back after moose hunting. If the charter didn't fly soon, we wouldn't be able to haul the freight home by boat due to low water. And our own moose hunt couldn’t be delayed too long.
      Back to shopping. I bought more stuff that was cumbersome or hazardous to ship by mail. Cultivator, wheel barrow, 30-gallon trash can and Plexiglas; sheet metal, rebar, angle iron for welding projects; plastic for sled runners, a galvanized fence, dog pen, white ash for dog sleds; ten gallons of two-cycle oil, five of chain oil, and 12 of white gas; two pickup loads of hay and straw that shed all over the hangar.
      I was still far short of 28,000 pounds.

Everts Air Cargo

      Everts Air Cargo couldn’t tell me just when the plane would fly, either. Sheryl, who managed every ounce of freight efficiently, didn't know the flight schedules, and Robert, who managed the flights, was clueless, swamped with flying for Bush construction projects and flights disrupted by bad weather.
      “How can I tell you where I'm flying next week when I don't know where I'm flying tomorrow?” he asked, but he promised to attempt my flight on the Tuesday after Labor Day.
      That gave me two more shopping days, so I turned my attention toward dead weight. I bought 400 pounds of groceries, fertilizer, oats, sweet feed, horse chow, block salt, and chicken food. For the dogs, I bought rice, tallow, fat blend, powdered eggs, bone meal, and 2,250 pounds of Eukanuba dog food. From out of town I ordered a sickle bar mower and a washing machine. Neither arrived in time to get on the flight.
Loading air cargo      What a headache for the charter outfit. Freight trickled in for two weeks and they had to store it all. As deliveries came from other people, Sheryl carefully logged the weights of each so I could bill people who joined my charter. The freight boys had to deal with some unorthodox freight, but they skillfully shrink-wrapped everything onto pallets.
      “Please don’t tell me you’ve got more hay,” one guy begged.
      “I enjoy reading your stories in Heartland,” Sheryl told me.
      “You'll be reading about this,” I assured her with a gesture of dismay.
      Every day I harassed them with questions. Could they take fuel? Frozen food? Dogs? Could they back-haul old batteries? Had they nailed down a flight date? How much weight had accumulated?
      Fairbanks businesses helped out a lot too. Some made free deliveries. Some went to long lengths to specially cut or package items for me. I got some great discounts. Northland Wood, Cold Spot Feed, OK Lumber, Superior Hardwoods, Alaska Steel, Cameron Equipment. and Rod's Saw Shop all went beyond the call of commercial duty. I went to four hardware stores and four boat shops; to Bucher Glass, Alaska Battery Supply, and Big Ray’s; twice to Alaska Feed and three times to Grubstake.
      I ran out of checks and maxed out my credit card, but with 10,000 pounds thrown in by neighbors, the charter grossed 28,576 pounds. (How lucky that my parents were sharing in the home improvement expenses!)
      The DC-6 flew on the promised Tuesday. It rumbled into Minchumina, a World War II antique, and the pilot delicately maneuvered the big craft onto the tiny parking area.
      If it took a town to help me fill up that plane, it took a village to help me unload it. People came whether they were expecting freight or not. Walter Maakestad brought his forklift and did most of the unloading. Jack Hayden brought his crew from Denali West Lodge and they provided most of the brute strength.
      All we brought were cookies.
      There were our two new dogs, the dog pen, water tanks, hardwood floor, the new roofing and five pallets of feed and straw—how would we ever haul it all? The fuel and lumber we could move after freeze up. And there was the freezer. All we really needed was the freezer—28,000 pounds later, I had almost forgotten about it.
      The washing machine and the mower are still in Fairbanks, waiting for another plane. I just hope they get on someone else's charter.
      It took two hours to unload the DC-6 charter at the Lake Minchumina airstrip. Freight was lined up along the parking area to be picked up by the individuals who had ordered it.
Julie Collins     

   Blast From The Past.
       Someone once said unrequited love is a bore.
       Well, we’ve got it pretty bad for these two.
       As mentioned at the top, we asked Julie to write this story for FlyingTypers back in 2008, at a time when Everts Air Cargo operated their DC6As, which—despite high maintenance requirements and shortages of AvGas—are still in service today alongside some Curtiss C46s.
       We were thrilled to learn in 2016 that the twins are still in Lake Minchumina. They are the only female trappers on the Alaska line.
       Earlier this year, National Geographic interviewed them in a short video.
Click above image to view.

    Riding The Wild Side Of Denali  The book Riding The Wild Side Of Denali is autobiographical—an in-depth, high adventure story describing Julie and Miki Collins’ traditional lifestyle hunting, trapping, fishing, gardening, and running dogs and horses. It’s a great gift for anyone.

Riding The Wild Side Of Denali
224 pp. Soft Cover
By Miki and Julie Collins
ISBN 094539764X
Available from Amazon
Price: $15.95

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