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   Vol. 19 No. 22
Monday March 16, 2020
Virgin Moves As Pandemic Deepens
Today Monday March 16, Virgin Atlantic announced that as result of the COVID-19 pandemic and flight restrictions, the airline is putting “drastic measures in place to ensure cash is preserved, costs are controlled, and the future of the airline is safeguarded.”
  Virgin Atlantic will park 75% of its fleet and reduce flights by 80% between March 17 and 26th.
  “This will be subject to constant review as the situation evolves,” Virgin said.
“Our London Heathrow-Newark route will be permanently terminated with immediate effect.”
  “The situation is deteriorating at pace and the airline has seen several days of negative bookings, driven by a huge volume of cancellations as customers choose to stay at home,” Virgin said, adding:
  “Staff will be asked to take eight weeks unpaid leave over the next three months, with the cost spread over six months' salary, to drastically reduce costs without job losses.
  “Significantly,” VS said, “the European Commission has announced a suspension of the ‘use it or lose it’ slot rules until June 30, 2020, enabling the airline to consolidate schedules and ground aircraft immediately.”
  A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson commented:
  “The aviation industry is facing unprecedented pressure. We are appealing to the Government for clear, decisive and unwavering support.
  “Our industry needs emergency credit facilities to a value of £5-7.5bn, to bolster confidence and to prevent credit card processors from withholding customer payments.
  “We also need slot alleviation for the full summer 2020 season, so we can match supply to demand – reducing costs and preventing unviable flying and corresponding CO2 emissions.
  “With this support, airlines including Virgin Atlantic, can weather this storm and emerge in a position to assist the nation’s economic recovery and provide the passenger and cargo connectivity that business and people across the country rely on.”

Whatever It Takes

As COVID-19 has shut down Italy talking of what is happening on the ground in Italian logistics right now opens the door for a conversation with some hardworking freight forwarders.
     Despite the shut down everywhere else, the logistics industry is open for business in Italy as you read this update.
     Marco Sorgetti spoke with two close Italian friends, who are very active in the business of logistics—Francesco Parisi and Antonella Straulino. Francesco is former FIATA President and owner of one of the oldest active freight forwarding and logistics companies in Europe, founded in 1807.
     FlyingTypers published Marco’s profiles on both Francesco and Antonella in these pages.

     Francesco and I discussed the options left to Italian logistics amid the coronavirus shock, and he told me that borrowing former President Bush’s comment to explain what is happening in Italy is apt:
     “The restrictions stop people, not goods,” he said.

Journey to Immense Change

Francesco Parisi      “We are in the middle of the third week after discovery of the first case of the coronavirus infection and we are experiencing what we never thought could happen,” Francesco said.
     “Until last week, there was a great underestimation about the danger,” he continued.
     “But everything changed on Sunday (March 8) with the first strict regulation imposedby our government, impeding the movement of people in parts of the Northern Italian territory, followed immediately on Monday with the extension of the same restrictions to the entire national territory (60 million residents) and now, by a further restriction closing all retail shops that are not considered vital (except foodstuff, pharmaceuticals, essential services), all hotels, restaurant, coffee shops, pubs, etc. all must strictly shut shop as of today, [March 12th] until March 25th.”

New Image Not Seen Before

     Francesco says, “The image of our cities has suddenly changed, everywhere in sight looks like early Sunday morning has occupied the whole day.

Non-Stop Transport & Logistics

     “Considering the structure of our economy (widespread SME’s, principally export oriented) and the possible dramatic damage that could result from a full closure of factories for a few weeks, our government has decided to allow manufacturing and services to continue operations, however under strict health rules.
    “Also Transport and Logistics is fully operational (carriers – road and rail – as well as infrastructure, ports, airports, warehousing),” Francesco assures.
     “Our Company’s offices have staff on site reduced by 50%, with 25% working from home (what Italians have called ‘smart working’) and the rest on holiday.      “Volumes are at a steady pace compared to previous weeks.

We Shall Fight & Work It Out

     “The experience from these first four ‘curfew’ days is remarkable: shippers and carriers are very cooperative, ‘smart working’ staff is extremely productive, overseas agents are very helpful . . . the only real business concern now is lack of capacity on container vessels for export cargo for the next two months (due to the previous month’s blank sailings) as well as lack of airfreight capacity due to passenger flight cancellations.
     “If we can circumvent these problems, we shall fight and live to work it out,” Francesco Parisi declared.


Antonella Straulino
Antonella & Milan Logistics

     I also managed to get Antonella Straulino, who is the international voice (amongst her many other functions) of Fedespedi, the Italian freight forwarders’ federation.
     Antonella, truly is a community-driven and, for that matter, through her years of great work at FIATA, a heart and soul force for good. She lives in Milan where Fedespedi’s registered office is located.
     I asked her to share her feelings about the situation in light of her daily interactions with the business.
     “This morning the news is we shall have a field hospital mounted in the former “Fiera di Milano” area in the center of Milan, which will be able to handle 600 new intensive care units and this will be ready in about a week,” she said.
     “I am pleased to see that Milan is showing resilience and determination.
     “Logistics will certainly play its part to realize this project authorized by Rome.
     “The additional care available will relieve the strain in our hospitals, which have been undergoing unprecedented pressure in these times.

Health Care System Is Working

     “I have to say that our National Health System is showing what can be done by the relatively modest investment that the Italian state makes in public health.      “Having had to test our NHS’s effectiveness for personal reasons in the past, I hope that our colleagues around the world will not have to suffer the dire straits we are in.
     “Considering that our NHS is one of the best in the world and has several decades’ of performance, I am appalled at what could happen if other countries are affected in the same proportion and said countries may now have to rely on comparable infrastructure.

Every Hand Helps

     “For my part I am trying to assist companies, local associations and entrepreneurs, from my home desk, providing communications, documents and help in any way I (humbly) can.

Communication Is Key

     “Open dialogue and communication are key: with customers, unions, other associations, public and private bodies.
     “In the end we are all in the same boat and we need to all row in the same direction,” Antonella said.

Freight Fowarding On The Job

     “I have to commend our Fedespedi members, really being on the front-line, trying to keep the flow of goods moving, notwithstanding bans from other countries, lack of trucks and drivers, understandable fears and sometimes misleading messages.
     “Freight forwarding and logistics (unlike my job) cannot be performed by merely staying at home; our companies are trying to cope with the situation, with staff also partially working from home.

Reaching Out Helping Others

     “Our schools and universities are showing the way, as many of them have converted themselves into ‘virtual knowledge’ centers.
     “I am also trying to assist in this area and I have to say that the experience gained in the many years I spent working in FIATA’s Advisory Body Vocational Training certainly came in handy at this time.

No Sitting Still In Crises

     “I heard this morning that we are celebrating the first ‘online degrees’ at LUISS University and other universities.
     “There will be no ‘spumante’ pouring into the glasses, but we shall have more doctors, which is better than sitting idle and doing nothing,” Anto declared.
     “This shows,” Antonella insists, “that the country does not wish to stop and that ‘andrà tutto bene’ [all will end up well]!”

Singing around Italy
  Marco shared this touching video that begins from the window of an apartment in Napoli.
  Take five minutes and listen to the voices of hope in song drifting up from open hearts as Italians share and sing for a moment in the COVID-19 crises.
  Not since Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania gathered and literally sang the Russians out of the Baltics in 1991 has there been a scene as moving.
  Singing may not cure the virus, but shoulders against the struggle worldwide, the music sure beats a punch in the nose.

Donna Mullins Commemorating Women's Month

     I am delighted to share ten outstanding women I admire and tell you why for Women's History Month in 2020.
     It was very difficult for me to narrow it down to just ten, but here are the ones I’ve chosen.

#1.  Ruby Saggus, my Mama! She was born with polio and survived cancer three times. She worked every day of her life until she had to stop because of COPD. She was the most energetic person and didn’t stop. She didn’t let anything stop her either. Mama taught me there is no such thing as a “pity party” and hard work lead to success. I learned so much from her about love, life, and determination. I love and miss you Mama.

#2.   Janet Jenkins, my Aunt. My first job in the industry was under her supervision. She taught me that “C” work is not acceptable and that I must do “A+” work. I learned business integrity and an eye for compliance from her. I strive in every way to do “A+” work because mediocre work doesn’t cut it. Thank you, Aunt Janet!

#3.   Pam Osterland, one of the best bosses I ever had. She wouldn’t let me quit. Pam was the Regional VP and I was the District Manager. I was, well, doing mediocre work and I attributed that to some personal things at the time. However, mediocre is not acceptable, and with Pam, apparently quitting wasn’t either. She was having that talk with me about my performance and when she was done she simply asked, “So what are you going to do about it?” My reply, “I guess I’ll resign”. Her reply, “Quitting is not an option”. I learned a changed behavior is not obtained by leaving a situation, but rather accepting the flaw and being willing to make it better.

Lisa Ragan#4.   Lisa Ragan, one of the first women entrepreneurs I met that was my age. In the early 90’s, when we were all young punks getting our feet wet in the international logistics and customs brokerage industry, Lisa jumped out and started her own company – Lisa Ragan Customs Brokers. I admired her risk-taking leap of faith. Lisa’s courage helped me when I was ready to take that leap. Her persistence, her passion, and her love for others are qualities I try to increase in myself daily.
For more click here.

Liz Merritt#5.   Elizabeth (Liz) Merritt, Managing Director – Cargo Services, Airlines for America. I have not known Liz as long as I have the above magnificent women, but her knowledge of air cargo and regulations revolving around air cargo movement have certainly amazed me. She leads the airline industry with a gentle and strong approach ensuring that the private, public, and governmental stakeholders work together to create an effective, efficient, expedited and secure environment. Her ability to bring various stakeholders to the table and resolve air cargo barriers is what helps to keep freight flying, and as a passenger on those planes, I truly do appreciate her efforts.
For more click here

Elba Pareja Gallagher#6.   Elba Pareja-Gallagher, UPS. While I have only known Elba for a few years, I was immediately drawn to her passion for people – all people. Although she leads the organization, ShowMe50, which is focused on gender equality, Elba’s unique passion for workplace flexibility is a model example of how we all can prosper together. Her kindness encourages me, and others, to put aside any difference we may have to create a better world in which we live, work, and play.
For more click here.

Gail Hagans and Deborah Torma#7.   The late Gail Hagans, past President, Atlanta Customs Brokers and International Freight Forwarders. I met Gail when I was about 20 years old (just a few years ago ?). She was one of my first bosses in the logistics industry. Gail was the kind of woman that would tell her husband to take the shirt off of his back and give it to someone – me. She really did that. She also had a great love of her staff. She would help anyone to be a better person. I’ve seen her buy clothing for her sales people, sell a car for $1.00 to an employee who needed transportation, and contribute to a person’s continual education. I always appreciated Gail’s personal and professional guidance. And, Gail has left one hell of a legacy – just look at her daughter, Deborah Torma, now President & CEO of Atlanta Customs Brokers who follows in her Mother’s footsteps. Both, great ladies.
For more click here.

Myra Reynolds and Donna Mullins#8.   Myra Reynolds, Director of Import Compliance, John S. James Co. I love this lady like she was blood; although not blood, we are most certainly family. I remember the first time I met Myra, and the James Gang. I was attending my very first NCBFAA conference and Myra came up an introduced herself and asked if I was there with anyone. When I told her I was alone, she grabbed my arm and said, “Well, now you are with us. Come on.” “Come on” meant I was about to get in a taxi with five strangers and lay in their lap in the back seat. (True story!) Where I come from, that makes you family. Myra is also probably what I would call a walking encyclopedia of customs business. I learn so much from her – compliance (of every government agency you could name), association etiquette (go up and meet the first-timer, it just may change their life), but mostly, love and compassion. This woman is the true definition of a Southern Belle.
For more click here.

#9.  Dolly Parton, yes, Dolly. Who doesn’t love Dolly? My first record when I was six years old was “Coat of Many Colors” by Dolly Parton. My Granny made me a coat of many colors. I admired that Dolly was a poor country girl, just like me, but was still successful and, as I discovered in time, one of the most giving people on earth. She does so much to help so many from the literate with her Imagination Library to her down home giving in DollyWood. And what a spiritual being – I love to hear her sing gospel (I also love to hear her sing ?). I believe you can learn from people who you are not directly in contact with. I learned from Dolly that women can be anything they want to be. If you don’t believe me just ask her!

Donna Mullins and Kathy WilliamsAnd last, but certainly not least –
#10.   Kathy Williams, my loving wife of 32 years. There is not enough time for me to describe what I admire about her and why. I guess I owe most of who I am professionally to her. She supported me in every decision, every leap of faith, every change, every step I have taken in my entire professional career. When I was studying for the Customs Brokers exam in the late 80’s, she made me, and my good friend Beth Mince, sit at the kitchen table and study for two hours a night. While we studied she cooked so we could “have fully bellies and full brains.” Almost 30 years later when I decided to get a Theology degree, she did the same thing. That is just one of many examples showing how outstanding this woman is. Kathy, thank for always being by my side and supporting me. I love you.

     There are so many more women who have had great and positive impacts on my life, both personally and professionally. I can’t begin to thank them all. Had these women not taken an interest in me, I would not be who I am today.
     For Women's History Month, I’ll conclude with this quote:
     The trials we endure can and should introduce us to our strengths. - Epictetus

Donna Mullins

     Donna Mullins' company Donna Mullins International Solutions is an independent small company that in 2020 is a bulwark of the air cargo community at ATL through its hands-on support for the Atlanta Air Cargo Association and other local airport building efforts. Recently Donna’s company became the Senior Consulting Firm in North America in the Air Cargo Community Systems (ACS) initiative there.
     Donna has served in the international transportation community since 1982, where she began as an importer of wholesale merchandise. After leaving the import side of the trade, Donna started her career in the brokerage and transportation arena. Ms. Mullins has held various volunteer positions including President and Chair of the Independent Freight Forwarders and Customs House Brokers Association of Atlanta (IFFCBHA); President and Chair of the Atlanta Air Cargo Association (AACA); Board of Director for the Atlanta Maritime Association (AMA); and currently serves as the Air Freight Committee Chair for the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA) Transportation Committee.
      Donna has held an Adjunct Professor position with Clayton State University where she was involved in the Logistics and Supply Chain Management course for five years when CSU was able to offer the course as a master’s degree program.

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Scoot Cargo Into China

  Scoot, a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines adds passenger configured B787-9s as cargo charters between Singapore Changi and Guangzhou and Nanjing, China.
  Earlier Cathay Pacific, another COVID-19 shut down for passengers, launched empty upstairs belly capacity cargo flights and is mulling the same action for flights into Japan.
  Ground handlers will wear haz-mat suits, crews get no layovers and aircraft will be “thoroughly disinfected”.
  They may want to scoot some disinfectant around the cargo terminals and hardstands as well.

Intermodal South America

If You Missed Any Of The Previous 3 Issues Of FlyingTypers
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Access specific articles by clicking on article title
FT030520Vol. 19 No. 19
United Takes COVID-19 To Heart
Airports In The Viral Landscape
Chuckles for March 5, 2020
U.S. Trucker Of The Year

FT030920Vol. 19. No. 20
Sense & Sensibility As COVID-19 Grips Aviation
China Upto Speed Could Take Months
Chuckles for March 9, 2020
We Can Do It

Vol. 19 No. 21
Trump Bans European Flights
Latin American Cargo Surges
Pandemic No Italian Panic
Cargo Events Feel Force Of Pandemic

Publisher-Geoffrey Arend • Managing Editor-Flossie Arend • Editor Emeritus-Richard Malkin
Film Editor-Ralph Arend • Special Assignments-Sabiha Arend, Emily Arend

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