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   Vol. 17 No. 10
Friday February 16, 2018

Ashok Gajapati Raju     The year 2018 has started on an optimistic note for India’s air cargo stakeholders.
      The person holding out the lolly of hope is none other than Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju.
      In an interview at the beginning of this year, Raju pointed out that though the potential for air cargo—especially domestic—was high, cargo unfortunately was only a very small part of Indian aviation.

Am I Raju?

      The minister went on to emphasize the fact that the country had only two domestic freighter operators—Blue Dart and Quikjet—though looking back in history, the India aviation story had started with cargo.
      Terming the mismatch as a “jigsaw puzzle” that has never been pieced together, Raju said, “Somehow the jigsaw puzzle never got put together.
      “At least there is an attempt to put it together.
      “Let's see where it will take us.”
      He was referring to the government’s formation of the Air Cargo Logistics Promotion Board (ACLPB) that will “strategize how to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and ensure inter-ministry coordination.”
      He was, however, quick to reiterate that “we are not know-alls.”
      “The aviation business is a continuous process of learning and working.
      “I will be very happy if cargo takes off.
      “Right now, it is very minuscule.”
      The Minister’s guarded optimism stems from the fact that air cargo promises to register a growth in double digits over the next five years.

Numbers Drivers

      In FY18 (April 2017-March 2018), air cargo India is on track to deliver 14-15 percent in comparison to the 12 percent in 2017, according to ratings agency Crisil.
      The growth figures were largely due to enhanced infrastructure, growing volumes, more connectivity, and a single window clearance system.
      A large percentage of the domestic growth has been due to e-commerce. Kolkata airport, for instance, has seen a huge jump in cargo volumes over the last few years, thanks to e-commerce.
      An international metro airport, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (as the Kolkata airport is called) is the eastern gateway and a major hub for flights to South East Asia.
      Once a major destination for European airlines like Lufthansa and British Airways, the airport saw traffic going down steadily due to a variety of factors. However, now the situation seems to have changed.
      No longer is weight an important criteria. With weight no longer critical, today the number of packages that are being shipped has grown by leaps and bounds.

Tulsi Speaks

      Tulsi Mirchandaney, Blue Dart Managing Director, was quoted saying that “the average weight of packages that we ship has reduced to a fifth while we are carrying five times more packages.” As a result, the Blue Dart freighter that touches Kolkata has flown full.
      The high growth of domestic e-commerce cargo notwithstanding, no one looks ready to venture into freighter operations.

Word Up Quikjet

      Talking to ACNFT, Capt. Preetham Philip, CEO of Quikjet, the all-cargo airline based in Bengaluru, said that only when e-tailers start time-definite deliveries in India, would new freighter operations start.  
      “Major e-tailers entered the Indian segment with a standard delivery period of two days and express delivery of next day delivery as practiced by their parent companies in the rest of the world.
      “Today, possibly due to logistics constraints or specific domestic reasons, the delivery date has changed to what we often refer to as Indian Stretchable Time,” said Capt. Philip (left).
      “Simply put, the stretched delivery date has become a norm,” he stressed.
      Capt. Philip pointed out that while the customer base has grown exponentially for e-tailers, “the philosophy of ‘deliver as soon as possible’ has changed to an expedited delivery in five days and for standard delivery to 10 days.”
      Unlike e-tailers in mature markets who consciously strive to continuously reduce the targeted delivery days, “in India we have an industry that keeps stretching the number of days for delivery.”
      Capt. Philip mentioned that while this could be argued as a connectivity problem, a study of the major movement of freight by e-tailers indicate that the major movement was from metro to metro.
      What, then, is the constraint in India for these e-tailers to consider surface transport, extensive warehouse networks, and maintaining large inventories for greater cost-savings than having an internal air freight network?  
      “The domestic air freight industry is indeed looking at epic growth,” Capt. Philip emphasized, “but the barriers for this growth continue to be a hindrance. Tier 2 and 3 cities’ connectivity is developing well with scheduled passenger airlines and while substantial lift is available on these routes, the tonnage and price competition with surface transport continues to be the driving force.”
      “Unidirectional loads also continue to be a challenge,” Capt. Philip points out, “for the growth of pure freighter networks.
      “While demand exists on loads into the North East, the challenge remains on loads coming out of the North East.
      “In fact, this holds true for even neighboring international sectors like Dhaka to Delhi, Delhi to Kabul, or Colombo to Delhi.”
      These are sectors that have air freight capacity, but the challenge remains on the return sectors.
      The unidirectional loads make the price point challenging for dedicated freighters.
      Philip predicts that the domestic passenger network will continue to see growth with added capacity—albeit in small increments.
      “This is in a market environment that has the potential for tremendous growth,” Capt. Philip said. 
Tirthankar Ghosh

TIACA Air Cargo Forum (ACF) in Toronto October 16-18 premier air cargo event in the Americas during 2018.

     The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) intends to further build the brand while also pursuing strategic projects that improve supply chain flows for all air cargo stakeholders.

TIACA CEO Scholte Is Action

     Sebastian Scholte, CEO of Jan de Rijk Logistics, moves onward into his two year tenure as TIACA chairman.
     He replaced Sanjiv Edward, Head of Cargo Business at Delhi International Airport. Speaking exclusively to Flying Typers, Scholte said that under his leadership TIACA will take a multi-pronged approached to growing the Association’s brand and building its role as a facilitator of improved air freight supply chain efficiency and resilience.

Setting Up A Pattern

“Strategy is about allocating your resources to the things that give the best results,” he said. “And the best result would be benefitting our industry and our members. And it should be achieved in a financially sustainable way.”
Scholte has now set up a think tank of 15 industry leaders to help finalize a strategy for TIACA with the aim of benefitting members and engaging more with stakeholders.

Two Way Dialogue

“I’ve been talking to many people in the industry - members and non-members.
“A lot of people are passionate about TIACA.
“It’s a very strong brand, and not only for now but also for the future.
“People say cooperation in the air cargo supply chain is not working as well it could and it would be perfect for TIACA to step in because we are the only organization that represents the whole air cargo supply chain. I’m not saying we will go down that route, but I envision that TIACA will play a facilitating role to help improve supply chains.”

CSG Launch For Example

Illustrating the point, in October TIACA launched its Cargo Service Quality (CSQ) initiative at its executive summit in Miami. CSQ is designed to give an overall assessment of all service providers in a given airport location as a means of generating qualitative data for users.
“I think that, and I may be dreaming a little bit, but it would be wonderful if TIACA could somehow become Trip Advisor for air cargo,” he said. “If you’re a shipper and you say, ‘OK I want to ship pharmaceuticals, what are the best airports?’ then you will have a resource – a ratings system for airports and service providers.
“Then if you go to an airport community, you can see how the handling agents are rated, what kind of facilities they have for example for Pharma. It’s not only that you have the customers evaluating the suppliers, but not why not the other way around as well?”

Shippers Advisory Panel

Mr. Scholte sees the initiative as working similarly to TIACA’s Shippers Advisory Council, which has been working on how best to improve information sharing and communication flow through the supply chain.
“We initiated this about two years ago and they have come up with a logistics data backbone which basically improves the whole air cargo supply chain and especially the information available,” he said.
“This is where we want to go, we want information sharing throughout the whole chain so that we are more aligned with each other so we can better plan and be prepared and therefore reduce errors, reduce costs, and improve transparency in the supply chain.

Umbrella Affect

“In future I see TIACA bringing all air cargo parties together, under one umbrella, to help make supply chains perform better.”
“I think if we have a complete open source of information for everybody where everybody can see everything, supply chains will function far better and more transparently. There’s so much more room for improvement.
“I see TIACA playing a bigger role in this way and I think that’s the only way to success. You can start small projects, help fund them and then expand.”

ACF Is The Money

Key to the Association’s ability to fund such initiatives is, of course, TIACA’s bi-annual Air Cargo Forum. The previous ACF was held in Paris in October last year and its follow-up will be hosted in Toronto in October 2018.
Scholte said ACF was an integral part of the organization’s value proposition as well as a key income-generator.
“TIACA is funded by its membership and, of course, by events, and the Air Cargo Forum is a big contributor and has to be successful in order for TIACA to remain economically viable.

Toronto ACF This October

“Things went well in Paris – it’s a good location, easily accessible.
Things are progressing well for Toronto also. The fact that it’s in Toronto doesn’t mean it’s a Canadian event, it’s a worldwide event. Global players meet global customers and global suppliers and so on. It’s of course challenging to bring it all together, and the cooperation that we have now with AFRAA (the African Airlines Association) and talks we are having with ALACAT (the Federación de Asociaciones Nacionales de Agentes de Carga y Operadores Logísticos Internacionales de América Latina y el Caraibe) in South America will help.

Forwarder Initiative

“We are trying to get more forwarders to the event and we’re doing everything to make it as attractive as possible for everybody. “There will be shippers there, there will be good content, excellent networking opportunities and we have to make it work.”
Air Cargo Forum is open to all. For more information please click here…

TIACA Into Tomorrow

Scholte said there was more scope for building the TIACA brand beyond its current strength in Europe and the US and, to a less extent Asia.
To this end, TIACA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with AFRAA in November, which will see the organizations work more closely on a range of issues affecting air freight.
“We are expanding globally by acting more regionally,” he said. “We are were trying to strengthen our ties regionally and what that means is that we will exchange information and help each other out with memberships etc.
“I believe in more closer cooperation with other organizations, especially in those parts of the world where TIACA is not as well known.
“The more we all work together the better the overall air cargo product will become,” Sebastian Scholte said.

   With a fleet of 215 modern container ships, Hapag-Lloyd is recycling its older, retired fleet, including this veteran of the seas, the “Heidelberg Express,” which was handled in an eco-friendly manner at a specialized shipyard in Alia?a, a town on the Aegean Coast of Turkey.
   Vessels that are moved from front line service at Hapag are carefully dismantled in line with environmental regulations in certified shipyards in Turkey and China.
   The recycling of these ships is part of the restructuring of our fleet,” says Anthony Firmin, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Hapag-Lloyd.
   Since our merger with UASC, we boast one of the youngest fleets in the industry on average of the restructuring of our fleet,” says Anthony Firmin, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Hapag-Lloyd.
   In September 2017, Hapag-Lloyd had already dismantled three older vessels from the former UASC fleet in an environmentally-friendly manner.


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     It is apparent to almost anyone traveling on business that there isn’t enough time to enjoy authentic local scenery.
     Dinner that hasn’t been worked into the business schedule becomes an after-thought, a quick twelve-dollar burger served on a tray with a moist towelette in some forgotten hotel room.
     We are so quick to let business travel spoil the excitement that comes with going to a new place. The town you’ve been zipping through for the past couple of days could be the grist for your memory’s mill, and sometimes culture shock can be cathartic.
     At the very least, a side step journey into town can afford a little life experience and a few polite conversations with the locals.
     I recall a Sunday alone at the downtown Mandarin Hotel in Taipei, right near Nanking Road. The Mandarin is a crew hotel. Pilots and cabin crew have a reputation of being tight with a buck.
     Most pilots like to maintain a fairly high profile life style, while cabin crew never has any money. Sometimes I think cabin crew invented stew. They always seem to be planning potluck dinners.
     The old joke: “Hey, this food tastes different. Did somebody wash my bowl or something?” barely affords a chuckle from these chowhounds.
     The Taipei Mandarin is always a good buy. The place is clean, if a bit faded. The restaurant, which serves Chinese and American breakfast around the clock, is always a good bet.
     The Mandarin is also equipped with a staff of husbands and wives who seem to live and tend to individual floors.
     You can be sure a staff member will see you to your door following check-in, and don’t be surprised when your arrival is heralded with hot tea and cookies.
     Once I stumbled into my room after a 19-hour flight and dived straight into the shower, only to discover my disheveled heap of clothes had been neatly pressed and hung.
     Lots of ex-patriot fliers and business types stay at the Mandarin.
     Anytime, day or night, Sky King is meeting under the gaze of Terry and the Pirates and Smilin’ Jack, all comic book heroes of 1930-40’s aviation.
     After arriving late one Saturday and working all of the next day on a story, I decided it was time to get out. The T.V. was rattling on in Chinese and English alternatively, about some sporting event that no longer held my interest. I decided to take a walk to find something to eat and maybe pick up some bottled water.
     It was drizzling lightly, a warm, early spring evening. Sundays anywhere are the same.
     It doesn’t really matter where you are in the world. There will be more places open on the day after the apocalypse than on any given Sunday.
     I stopped at a small restaurant that looked busy. Business in a restaurant is a good sign in any country. The first thing I noticed was how the place smelled.
     This joint smelled great.
     A couple of beers and a plate of fried rice later, I left my small side table completely satisfied.
     Around the corner from the restaurant I found a group of people laughing and joking in the staccato tics of quick and easy Chinese conversation. For a moment I thought that I had missed the place the cool crowd supped. I felt a need to get the name and address of said cool place so that I could return at a later time. I began to make my way to the group.
     It was then that a familiar sign struck me, a sign emblematic of gaudy, tacky Americana: the flashing red and white striped logo of T.G.I. Fridays. I laughed, and wondered if my joke was funnier than the joke shared by the cool crowd. I had not come halfway around the world to eat burgers and fairy food.
     Now, whenever it’s time to hit the road again, I think of that damp Sunday in Taipei. It reminds me to get out and experience more of the local scene.
     I always wonder about people who come to New York from other parts of the world insisting that the best restaurants are in Manhattan, simply because they’ve read that somewhere.
     Let’s set the record straight.
     Any stiff can read a review and fork over a lot of cash.
     The idea is to get out, get fed, have some fun and not get stuck paying through the teeth.
     Try something new, even if it’s in small amounts.
     Live a little.
     You may not pass this way again.
     The Chinese food being served up in Flushing, New York City is incredible, and you can basically eat until your hands get tired for just a couple of bucks.
     I would go so far as to say that several of the places in Flushing are better than the majority of restaurants in Manhattan and, I dare say, in Taipei as well.
     Since this is the season to celebrate Chinese New Year, and New York is a great city for Chinese food, here are some tips for where to go the next time you land at JFK or LaGuardia Airport. These restaurants are just a short cab or bus ride from the airport hotels.
     If you are dining alone you may feel funny about it. But nowadays you can fiddle with your telephone while you wait for your meal. Look up every now and again to check the scene out. Maybe you will find yourself talking to a complete stranger, maybe it will just be time spent following the pattern in the wallpaper. Regardless, you will leave yourself open to the environment without being bored.
     Just remember, like any good scout, you must be prepared, in every sense. You may think you have everything covered, but always be ready when the host asks you if you might consider sitting at a table with other diners to make more room. Anything can and will happen.
     Chinese restaurants in New York have lots of big, round tables. If a restaurant starts filling up with loners, couples and small families, it is not unusual to find strangers sitting together at a table. It works great when you’re alone and it’s busy because almost everyone gets seated right away. And you get an easy, insider look into the different lives inhabiting the city. Plus, if you just had a tough day in business there is nothing better than the anonymity of a table full of merciful strangers.
     Chinese restaurants always bring a pot of tea and a menu, giving the diner a relaxing couple of minutes to check things out.
     Family style dining is an easy and appropriate meal at any Chinese restaurant in New York. It always feels like going back to summer camp and sitting at a table with a variety of choice meal items. If you’re sitting at a table with a meal already in progress it’s like seeing the Lotto numbers before they are run. If you observe your new best friend and fellow diner coveting your Bok Choy, don’t be afraid to tell him how it tastes. Sharing what is good is always a great icebreaker.
     One of our favorites is Joe’s Shanghai. 136-21 37 Ave. Flushing NY 11354 (718) 539-4429 www.joesshanghai.co. Located smack-dab in the middle of the ‘New Chinatown’ in Flushing, Queens, Joe’s Shanghai has been hailed as a real treasure of the area. On balance this is the best Chinese restaurant in New York. Less formal and more family oriented, Joe’s features steamed buns of pork or crab. They are served a dozen to an order inside wicker baskets. There are those who duck in simply to partake in that delicious delicacy. Joe’s also serves delicious Shanghai fried rice, a lightly turned and simply prepared dish with small bits of scallion and egg. Scallion pancakes are an excellent accompaniment to any meal at Joe’s. Joe’s is constantly rated in the top ten New York Chinese eateries and serves until 11 p.m. weekdays and midnight Fridays and Saturdays.
     Another aspect to enjoying Chinese food is Dim Sum. Dim Sum is served predominantly served earlier in the day and especially during lunch. Carts laden with round, metal Tiffin-like pans are wheeled out carrying dozens of different kinds of Dim Sum. The wait staff circles the restaurant offering the different choices, only leaving to refill their stock. If you don’t like something, you don’t have a whole dish to contend with. If you love something, you can just keep choosing it, and all the while your waiter will keep track of what you have ordered.
     Steamed dumplings with shrimp, chicken or beef; friend eggplant roll; pork congee with preserved egg; braised duck feet; turnip cake - there are a hundred choices.
     The Flushing area is a hot zone for Chinese food, and at this point you could close your eyes and point and still hit an excellent restaurant. But Flushing has also become a “destination” of sorts.
     Not only is the food great, but also it’s so easy to just check into a hotel and go shopping, or see a movie. The train into the city lies in the heart of Main Street, close to all restaurants and shopping, and one stop from The Mets at Citifield.
     Savvy business travelers can take the Q48 bus from LaGuardia right to the center of town.
     Flushing also offers a variety of Japanese, Indian, Malaysian, Vietnamese and Korean Food.
     The Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel at 135-20 39th Avenue has 173 rooms and is centrally located. It is the perfect full-service place to set up operations. (718) 460-666; North America, (888) 268-0717; Hong Kong, (800) 90-0376; Taiwan, 0080-10-3852.
     Wherever you find yourself landing, after a two or ten or fourteen hour flight, soaking in the shower and washing the business out of your body, remember to get out and explore your surroundings a little. There is more to this world than business; there are all the many hours in between.
     Wishing all our readers a Happy New Year “Kung Hey Fat Choi!” as we celebrate The Dog and venture out in these gray, New York days of February and live a little.

If You Missed Any Of The Previous 3 Issues Of FlyingTypers
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011718Vol. 17 No. 7
Women In Charge Powering AA Cargo
Chuckles for February 5, 2018
Washing My Baby Home
011718Vol. 17 No. 8
Westward Ho! UA ANA Joint Is Jumping
Chuckles for February 9, 2018
Factory Signals Mixed Ahead Of Chinese New Year
Towers Above All
You Gotta Have Heart

Cargo Tesla Into Space

Vol. 17 No. 9
The Trump Effect One Year Later
Chuckles for February 14, 2018
Disrupters & The New Paradigm
Valentine's Greetings

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