Roccasecca is Group Cargo Director, Chief Executive GDA Handling, of SAVE
S.p.A. with responsibility for Venice, Verona, Brescia and Treviso Airports.
Mr. Roccasecca has been a global air cargo
icon for the past 30-plus years having served at UPS, TNT, Alitalia, Oman
Airports, and elsewhere.
“Luck was on my side,” writes
Marco Sorgetti from his home in Turin, Italy. “I managed to ask
Massimo questions about the situation in Italy, and the special circumstances
in which the air transport business finds itself. Mr. Roccasecca was kind
enough to share some revealing insights in these times."
Logistics Island in a Stormy
“The threat to international trade
represented by the epidemic appears to be growing in intensity,”
Massimo Roccasecca declared.
“The Italian government seemed to
be directed to keep the freight sector out of the restrictions on mobility;
however, is it realistic that the logistics sector continues its work
without repercussions, like an island in the middle of a stormy sea, without
mentioning the unrest spontaneously starting in the manufacturing industry?”
We are Determined
“I believe that after a rather confusing
first phase on what remedies were to be put in place (probably due to
the lack of awareness of the seriousness and size of this epidemic), today
in Italy we have reached maximum determination.
“The only possible next step would
be the total and absolute stoppage of the entire country, with consequences
that would make you shiver.
“The growth of the unrest is more
than understandable given the worsening of the situation.”
Lessons for the Future
“We are human beings and we talk about
the health of individuals, but unnecessary collective hysteria must also
“What is certain, however, any controversy
aside, is that this emergency must serve as a lesson for the future.”
Where were China Warnings?
“Although I understand the initial
bewilderment that we have seen, as a citizen even more than as a businessman
who travels frequently, I find it surprising that in China where the virus
seems to have originated, so much time passed without the right alarms
“Nowadays, with the mobility to which
the world has become accustomed, perhaps the sense of responsibility of
each individual could have been more developed.”
Can we make a correction?
“Unfortunately, in this emergency
we are sort of playing things by ear. The situation changes by the hour.
The corrections, if at all necessary, will have to be implemented according
to how the situation evolves.”
Could Cargo be Halted Altogether?
“Should the contagion curve continue
to rise, I hope not.
“But I do not rule out the possibility
of reaching the extreme solution of a total blockade of goods.
“Having said that, however, I spontaneously
ask myself how sale points can be supplied with basic necessities. If
up to now the logistic chain has not been blocked, it is also for this
No Country is Independent
“Including the many friends and colleagues
we have in this industry, we are all part of a complex system we call
the logistics chain.
“It is clear that in the last few
weeks we have all been involved in the analysis, verification, and implementation
of all possible measures.
“Still, in these hours, further scenarios
are looming which will surely have an impact on transportation, the air
sector in particular. But it is good that we know exactly what we are
“In today's globalized society, no
country can be said to be completely independent from the rest of the
Can Cargo Come Back Quickly?
“Unfortunately, no,” Massimo
Roccasecca states flatly.
“Once the emergency has passed, there
will be an immediate reaction from the whole market, but the damage we
have now is enormous.
“The recovery times of the sector
will be protracted.”
Will Recovery Work Copying
“As previously stated, I cannot say
whether there really is an ‘ideal’ model.
“Any model, Chinese, European, American,
etc. . . . transposed out of its context risks losing
“Moreover, the contexts are profoundly
different, as are the lifestyles in the different societies.”
Unify World Health
“On the contrary, I believe a basic
‘single’ model is needed with regard to world health standards.
“Let me offer a trivial example: Restaurants
all over the world have standards, rules, and laws that regulate the minimum
hygiene requirements to which they must comply.
“Yet they are very different from
each other and what you see in one country, perhaps in another is ignored.
“But then, traveling, you eat in both.
“Or even eat at the food stall on
“The issue is very vast and complex.”
How Will Airport Pax Closures
As I said before, the total closure of a system,
of a country, leads to serious consequences.
“We must take this into account.
“This is our role towards politics,
governments, and institutions: to act as a center of competency even in
times of emergency, which we are currently experiencing.”
Lighten Dependency on Mega
“In context of the current situation,
it is evident that [dependence on] mega hubs (like London, Frankfurt,
Paris, Istanbul, etc.) are critical factors.
“Too much concentration, in my opinion,
is always a potential risk.
“I am not saying that we must eliminate
mega hubs, but certainly a different strategy, that can ‘lighten’
their role is necessary as never before.
“I fully understand,” Massimo
assures, “the economic logic that has favored this development and
growth over the past 20-30 years, but I am not so sure it will still be
valid in the future, at least not in these dimensions.”
Half Empty Cathedrals
“The current, very serious crisis
facing hundreds of thousands of large shopping malls all over the world—the
same malls that in the last 20-30 years have slowly replaced the small
retail stores, decreeing their near extinction—are today half-empty
“There seems to me to be an alarm
bell ringing over our dependency on mega hubs,” Massimo Roccasecca
Editor's Note: Reading Massimo's comments reminded me of the words
that also served as title to the Ernest Hemingway novel, “For Whom
the Bell Tolls”:
“If a clod be washed away by the
sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if
a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were. Any man's death diminishes
me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know
for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”