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   Vol. 18 No. 76
Tuesday December 3, 2019

Qatar Americas Expansion
Akbar Al Baker  “Air cargo is a crucial element in the global transport system that supports international trade and the free flow of goods around the world,” declared Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker announcing that scheduled services to Campinas, Brazil (VCP), Santiago, Chile (SCL), Lima, Peru (LIM) and Bogotá, Colombia (BOG) will join the airline’s global freighter network on January 16, 2020 and will be serviced by a Boeing 777 freighter.
  “Our new routes in South America further reinforces our position as one of the world’s leading air cargo providers, operating one of the largest networks in the world with the youngest and most environmentally efficient fleet in the industry,” Mr. Al Baker enthused.
  The twice-weekly flights to Bogotá from Doha will operate via Luxembourg and Miami, while the service from Bogotá to Doha will operate via Liège, offering 200 tons on each sector.
  Twice-weekly flights to Campinas from Doha will operate via Luxembourg with the service from Campinas to Doha, operating via Santiago, Lima, Dallas and Luxembourg, also offering 200 tons on each leg.

Guillaume HalleuxThe Passion of Dynamic Growth

  Qatar Airways Chief Officer Cargo, Mr. Guillaume Halleux, is passionate:
  “We are very excited about our expansion in South America.
  “The Americas are a very important market for us and there is a huge demand for South American fresh produce in Asia.
  “With the introduction of our twice-weekly Boeing 777 freighter services, we offer exporters in South America a direct route for their cargo and a global network. Importers also stand to gain from the huge capacity to bring in their cargo to South America.”

New Aircraft Aplenty

  These new destinations will commence close on the heels of the arrival just last week, on November 25, 2019 of the airline’s twenty-first brand, spanking new Boeing 777 freighter.
  The new freighter increased the airline’s freighter fleet to 28 aircraft giving the Doha-based carrier a commanding lead over every other airline.
  Qatar Airways Cargo also has an order for five additional Boeing 777 freighters, placed at the Paris Air Show 2019, with deliveries starting from April 2020 onwards.

Extensive Plans For The Americas

  General cargo, pharmaceuticals, and perishables will form the majority of goods imported and exported to and from South America along with some movements of live animals and high-value items like telecommunication equipment, electronics and other valuable cargo.
  QR has an extensive network in The Americas serving 18 freighter and 13 belly-hold cargo destinations in the region. The carrier recently completed a year of successful transpacific operations, now operating four-times weekly freighters direct from Asia to North America.

Ian Morgan

     Ian Morgan, Qatar Airways Vice President Cargo The Americas, makes no bones about it.
     He got into air cargo by chance but during the ensuing years has never looked back.
     He has also worked both sides of the fence, first in forwarding and now at the airlines.
     “I started my career in 1979 at Gatwick Airport as a junior import accounts clerk at Pandair Freight.
     “It was not an intentional decision, but purely by circumstance I found myself contemplating a job in an industry that I had really never heard of.
     “To this day, it’s the best decision I have ever made.

Purposeful Energy

     “I strive to create an environment where the people that are part of the team want to come to work.
     “We all have to work, but when you can create and maintain a culture that makes people want to come to work, that’s where you make a difference.
     “I am fortunate to be surrounded with the best people in the business and to be part of a team in The Americas that I believe is the best in the industry.
     “I am thankful every day for that.

A Day In An Air Cargo Life

     “No day is the same,” Ian declared, “and that is very much part of the excitement that comes from working in the air cargo industry.
     “One day I could be dealing with challenges such as the recent unrest in Ecuador, to establishing the infrastructure to support five new station startups occurring over the next three months.
     “In most cases, it is communicating with staff, customers and partners to continue to make Qatar Airways Cargo the carrier that our customers ‘want’ to work with and not ‘have to’ work with.

Leadership Lifts Quality All Around

     “When I look back on those who have inspired me, there is one common quality. They have all been willing to listen, even if you are not in agreement.
     “They believe that everyone has value, and that all opinions are created equal.
     “Being a great leader requires being a good coach, being able to empower, and not micro manage those who are very capable of doing the job.
     “Great leaders make the working environment inclusive and facilitate career growth, and development.
     “They communicate the vision, and ensure that everyone understands and knows that they are a vital part of the business.

     Mike White, President-Cargo Network Services (CNS), pictured here with Ian Morgan enthused, "Qatar has been a key sponsor of the CNS Partnership Conference. QR, with their growth in the U.S. has been supportive on the regulatory issues on customs and security.
     "They also have been strong advocates in the paperless e-AWB initiative to and from the U.S.," Mike added.

True Partners

     “We want our partners throughout the Americas and everywhere to understand that we are in a “partnership,” and that if they fail, we fail.
     “It is working with every component of our industry, to being at the levels our customers have come to expect.
     “We have a responsibility as the world’s leading cargo airline.
     “Our team represents not just Qatar Airways, but also the industry as a whole, and that comes with serious commitments and responsibility.
     “I believe our legacy will be determined by how we represent the industry as a whole, and the part we will play in improving safety, security, and the customer experience.

Customer Experience Is Paramount

     “Customer experience is the most important aspect of any business.
     “We have a dedicated team in place that is looking for ways to enhance and improve customer experience.
     “Here is a clear customer experience vision that is 100% committed to delivering a positive experience at every touchpoint.
     “Our teams make every effort to understand the customer and always act on their feedback.

Word Up Is Positive

     “We have been receiving positive feedback from our customers which helps us understand that our efforts are bearing fruit,” Ian smiles.
     “Our position today is because of our customers who have never lost their trust in us.

Carrying The Message Up Front

     “We, as employees of Qatar Airways Cargo, are the ones that create the impression.
     “We are the ones that can negatively and positively influence the perception of the airline.
     “At Qatar Airways Cargo, we always aim to create a positive perception globally.
     “Customer centricity, as mentioned earlier, is at the heart of everything we do and this is reflected by each of our employees globally. “We care for our customers and remain humble.
     “Everyone here understands that our continued success is due to the trust of our customers and business partners.
     “We remain as humble and approachable to our clients as when we were ranked 14th in the world and even today, being one of the world’s leading global air cargo carriers.
     “I believe this is what sets us apart.

People Are Everything

     “We also value people and recognize that we are only as good as the environment that we create for our staff to succeed.
     “At every given point, we promote a positive work environment that allows our teams to excel, and be able to feel pride and value in their significant contribution to the airline’s success.

People Just For Instance

     ”We believe in leading by example.
     “You cannot be everywhere at once and, cannot speak to every customer, or even everyone in the cargo team, every day.
     “What you can do is to create and nurture, facilitate, enhance, encourage, recognize, support and celebrate your team.
     “This is reflected in every customer interaction that our global teams have with our customers and partners.
     “Every time a customer entrusts us with their cargo, they understand how seriously we take that responsibility.”

Great Collaborations Delivered

     “As one of the leading global air cargo carriers, we believe in great collaborations, as they promote success.
     “We encourage a culture of showing respect and value for the skills and contributions of our team members.
     “We also believe that by having open and candid dialogues, and most of all by listening, and understanding alternative points of views, people feel valued and respected and that is what promotes collaboration,” Ian Morgan said.
     “Pre conceived ideas, dominance and dissonance can kill collaborations.
     “We need to constantly evolve if we wish to hold the mantle of “Customer Preference.”      “The market is always changing and it’s important to have an adaptive approach in every aspect of our business.
     “If you were to see and live the creative development underway at Qatar Airways Cargo as I do, it only underscores that we take our part in the evolution and development of the air cargo industry very seriously.”

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Keshav Tanna is a stalwart in global professional freight forwarding, who also gives back, serving on the board of the world freight forwarder organization, FIATA. He is Director (Airfreight), at Links Forwarders based in New Delhi, India.

     “It is clear that the industry witnessed a softness in demand in the early months of 2019.
     “Already the 50 percent of the China-U.S. airfreight is hampered by the tariff dispute and if this were to continue then 100 percent of all China-US airfreight would be subject to a 25 percent tariff.
     “This, because with USA wanting to double tariffs this year to 25 percent on another $200 Billion of Chinese imports, the negative impact on airfreight growth is imminent.

Double Digit Downer

     “In the first seven months of 2019, trade volumes between U.S. and China fell by 14 percent compared to the same period of 2018.
     “Unfortunately, the U.S. trade wars do not end with China; the U.S. Government has imposed trade restrictions with other trading nations such as South Korea, Mexico, Turkey and India.

New Horizons

     “To focus mainly on the U.S.-China trade wars might be myopic, as one might witness trade attacks on different trade lanes affecting overall global airfreight growth.
     “This could result in a definite shift in manufacturing activity to other nations such as Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia. “These nations would see this as an opportunity which would attract foreign investments.
     “One is already witnessing an increased amount of exports from Vietnam to U.S., particularly in some hi-tech Japanese and South Korean products, which have now shifted production to Vietnam.

A Matter of Time

     “However, these could be short term measures as trade wars are politically driven and one cannot say what could happen in the long run. China and U.S. are amongst two of the largest trading nations, and hence no doubt the trade war between them has shrunk airfreight numbers globally.

Deutsche Drop

     “It’s not just China and the U.S.—in July, Germany recorded its steepest drop in new export orders since 2009 indicating the outlook for German economy remains bleak following the negative GDP growth figure in 2Q19.
     “This, in itself is an indication of things to come, which look far from bright at the moment.

The Hong Kong Effect

     “At this point it’s a bit too soon to comment on this but the effects of this are surely perceived to add to the current woes of air cargo.
     “From what one understands, cargo is moving in and out of the airport but because of the demonstrations which have resulted in blocked traffic and closure of the airport for a few days, volumes will likely be down in double-digits.
     “Shippers may be wise to have back-up plans in terms of alternative airports in the area until the situation has been resolved.

The Leading Indicator

Thought Leader Talk     “Air cargo is an extremely volatile commodity and is one of the first to suffer when economic growth is affected.
     “Vice-versa, it is also one of the first to recover in a favourable economic environment and this could be witnessed in the year 2016/2017 when growth was at its peak and industry needed rapid restocking of inventories. The good times unfortunately didn’t last too long and one witnessed poor airfreight growth in the last quarter of 2018.
     “This downgraded the forecast in 2019 and perhaps rightly so. Weakening economic growth in China and the EU in the second half of 2018 is expected to continue through 2019.
     “In fact, the IMF has also reduced its 2020 global growth predictions from 3.7 per cent to 3.6 per cent.

Yields Take A Beating

     “Yields have taken a beating and credit terms have certainly been far from healthy.
     “Additionally Digital platforms have temporarily hit our bottom lines, but one would not see this as a permanent setback, as e-business is the way to go and has its upside as well.
     “But all in all, it has been a year where the best is like the worst,” Keshav Tanna smiled.

Like Déjà Vu All Over Again

     “It seems the year 2020 will start with similar challenges as there are no clear upward trade indicators in sight, not only for India, but globally—the major challenge we are facing right now is Brexit!
     “However, Africa and Latin America could be some bright spots.
     “African airlines seem to be benefiting from Asian trade, while Latin America is benefiting from an ever so slightly improving Brazil.
     “Caution may be expressed for Latin America though, because it is a highly volatile market and current economic conditions in Argentina could negatively impact the airfreight market.

The Pharma Lifeline

     “We are handling pharma,” Keshav said, “and in fact that is one of the only major commodities that has kept the airfreight market alive.
     “Volumes to the U.S. are stable. However, to the rest of the world there has been a slight decline—at least for us.
     “This pharma commodity however, will pick up sooner than other air cargo commodities,” Keshav assures.
Tirthankar Ghosh

For Part 1 in this series, click here.

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