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.
is undergoing a transformation,” Mr. Joyce
said in an exclusive interview. “We are building
a business that is innovative, thoughtful, and reliable.
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
“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.”
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.
for 2017, Delta Cargo will continue to enhance and
differentiate our DASH products to enrich our domestic
we are testing new services that better meet the
needs of our customers and we look forward to sharing
more details in 2017.”
“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.
Difference Comes Into Focus
“Our vast network sets Delta apart from the
“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.
beyond Delta Cargo to our strategic and JV partners
as we work to create the best cargo experience.”
“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
“We are working
to provide greater visibility to shipments along
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.”
“As an industry, air cargo can work to better
meet the needs of our customers.
AWBs, simplification, and automation are key themes.
should continue discussing policies that impact
the air cargo space to make it easier to do business
To Do Business
“Delta Cargo brings differentiated products
and services tailored and developed around customer
needs, like our 24/7 customer service support.
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.
in 2016, Delta operated nine new international segments,
providing more connectivity into Germany, Italy,
Japan, and France.
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. Geoffrey
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.
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.
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
The problem was replacing
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
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
Fuel is hard to transport
too, so I ordered seven drums of gas and a jug of
so far is 5,401 pounds,” Sheryl from Everts
Air Cargo told me after my fourth pickup load. I
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
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 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
“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.
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.
tell me you’ve got more hay,” one guy
“I enjoy reading
your stories in Heartland,” Sheryl told me.
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
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
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
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
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. Geoffrey
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
The Wild Side Of Denali
224 pp. Soft Cover
By Miki and Julie Collins
ISBN 094539764X Available
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