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Family Aid 2020
   Vol. 20 No. 1
Monday January 11 , 2021
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United Cargo and Jan Krems

When Jan Krems began his tenure four years ago as President at United Airlines Worldwide Cargo we wrote:
     “Winston Churchill said of Franklin Roosevelt that ‘meeting him was like uncorking your first bottle of champagne,’ which is exactly what it felt like to us when we sat down and talked to Jan Krems, President of United Cargo.”
     Face-to-face, or on Zoom, take your pick, Jan comes across as a very broad thinker and a brilliant air cargo mind. But he also seems a very approachable guy who knows how to both motivate people and thinking, and have some fun as well.
     Right now United Cargo business is on fire all over the world setting new records, having moved somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 cargo only flights. Krems and his team have UA Cargo out front and pulling away from every other U.S. flag combination carrier.
     Nothing seems impossible, including maybe even that long-held dream; every executive who has been borne into the air cargo fabric of the world has on their bucket list, a vision of skies full of freighters.
     Krems is the dreamer and doer airline air cargo executive of our age.
     The rest of us can feel lucky when he walks down the street and shares some thoughts with us.

Great Basic Training

     Born in the Netherlands, Jan worked his way into the air cargo industry starting at the bottom at KLM, rising up the ladder to the point where, just prior to arrival in the Willis Center, Chicago, home of United Airlines, he headed up the fortunes of KLM/Air France Cargo USA, a $400+ million dollar business.
     As top executive at United Cargo, which pre-pandemic generated better than a billion dollars a year, Jan makes no secret that he landed the job of a lifetime and is enjoying every moment and challenge.
     “I think cargo is very sexy,” Jan says with a smile.
     “Forwarders just make air cargo even better.
     “But thinking about the three key players in any shipment: the customer, the forwarder and the airline – what’s immediately obvious is that we need each other!

As From Today January 11, 2021

     Here is the latest, as Krems put down his sword for an update as 2021 begins.
     One thing is immediately apparent, Mr. Krems keeps looking up in a COVID-19 era when there is no looking back. In a sink or swim airline business throughout the pandemic, Krems’ United Airlines Cargo has delivered a remarkable impact with a business plan that seems to be clicking on all levels, propelling the Chicago-based carrier into the position of one of the fastest growing air cargo resources.

Jan Krems and Jan Krems Sr.FT:  When was the last time you had lunch somewhere with a good friend or an important business colleague? What aside from COVID-19 do you think 2020 will be remembered for?
JK:  I recently had lunch in the Netherlands with one of my best friends who is quite ill, and only has a few weeks to live. Despite the sad occasion, we had a great lunch with his sons and my sons. It was a very good day and a celebration of life.
     The next day, I had lunch with my parents. My father just turned 88 years old and he has had his up days and down days. He was in good spirits, so we had a nice lunch and shared a beer together.
     Aside from COVID-19, I think 2020 for me will always remind me how vulnerable you can be as a human being—and a population as whole. It just goes to show you that there are a lot of other things more important than the rat race and making money. 2020 will always remind me of the importance of friendship.

FT:  What are the lessons of 2020, what have you learned?
JK:  As I had lunch with my friend and parents, it showed me how important it is to spend more time with others. Make more time to talk and listen to each other. We are not invincible, and something like a virus can derail us. It gives us some reflection on who we are and what our purpose in life is.

Jan and Manon KremsFT:  How did 2020 change your business life? What is your greatest regret of this time?
JK:  This year, since I didn’t have to work out of the Chicago office, I spent more time working from my house in Spain with Manon, my wife of 33 years. I have never spent so much time with her in my life, but it has been a great thing. We talked a lot, shared drinks together, enjoyed the great weather—it tested our relationship, but spending this much time together made our relationship stronger. Although it’s been great, she is very happy to see me travel again.
     My biggest regret was that I didn’t live closer to my parents. I am lucky because I can fly from Spain to Holland and see them, but it’s not the same as being close to them. My mom has gotten really good at video conferencing and putting pictures on WhatsApp—so I do get to see them virtually.

FT:  What is the price tag of success?
JK:  Of course, you have to put in the hard work, and sometimes that may take you away from the other joys in life.
     I believe that in order to be successful, you must work with others and give credit where credit is due. The only way to achieve success is to be collaborative, yet give each other the freedom, and recognize the people who got you where you are. And that is the positive aspect of success.

FT:   What in your work routine do you plan to do differently in 2021?
JK:  I plan to travel more. Once countries reopen, I want to travel to see my employees and spend time with our customers. I believe that about 30 percent of business is determined by the reputation of the company, their network, the quality and capabilities.
     The rest is people related—getting to know your customer, understanding their needs and being able to provide solutions to their business challenges. It is also about getting to know them on a deeper level and sharing a drink. It’s by getting to know them on a personal level that truly makes a difference.

FT:  Do you see accelerated benefit to IT as the result of the 2020 experience?
JK:  The technology that allows us to have virtual meetings and conversations is truly remarkable. Imagine if this pandemic had hit 10-15 years ago. We would not have been able to conduct business as well as we have these last nine months. It doesn’t replace face-to-face interaction, but it allows me to feel connected to my team.

FT:  Will there be less or more emphasis on trade shows and group gatherings ahead?
JK:  I definitely hope to have more group gatherings ahead. I think people are anxious and are ready to have interactions with other, dance with each other, have fun, conduct business, share food and drink, and just be with each other. I also believe that United’s CEO Scott Kirby is correct when he says that business travel will come back. I, for one, cannot wait to see our employees and customers and attend conferences and trade shows again.

FT:  Will Zoom become the new normal when you want to generate attention, hold meetings build contact via social network?
JK:  Technologies like Zoom and Microsoft Teams can really facilitate business interactions. They have proven themselves to be beneficial, so they will not go away. But these technologies will not replace the importance of face-to-face interactions with customers and employees.

FT:  Will you work from office as before, or have we, like Caesar, crossed the Rubicon. From now on, will our way of doing business be different?
JK:  When our office reopens, I will spend time there every month. However, I also plan to travel, the moment countries open up. As cargo people, we need to know our customers and products. We also need to learn about the countries and people that we transport cargo to—you can’t learn this from sitting in the office.

FT:  Would you share your feelings about weakness, old age and luxury? As the page turns on another year after one like no other, what do you want your service partners to know about United Cargo?
JK:  I have no issues sharing my vulnerabilities, and wisdom—although I am not that old. Yes, I just turned 60. Sometimes I feel like I am 40, other times I feel that I am 80. But the wisdom that I can impart as a 60-year old is that as I’ve said all along – you are not invincible on your own, and you cannot take anything for granted. I had Corona and survived. There are younger and more fit people who caught the virus have died from it.
     We need to take the days as they come, because nothing is guaranteed in life. Spend time with your family and friends. Having a good job and earning wealth is great—but meaningless if you can’t share it.
     As for what I would like to tell our service partners—we cannot succeed without them. We need our service partners now and in the future more than we ever have. We need to be open, honest and sharing ideas. Over the last nine months, as a team, United Cargo has had to change the way we do business. No longer are we in a siloed way of thinking. All our business units worked together and we came up with the best ideas. These ideas launched the cargo-only flights of which we have had over 9,000 for the year.
     We were also able to put together our best team and plan for shipping the vaccine—and we became the first airline to do so. Going forward, we would like to do the same with our customers and service providers.
     “We are stronger together,” Jan Krems declared.

ATC Ready for Vaccine Delivery
The airwaves are crowded with vaccine stories and people all over the world rushing to deliver that life-saving serum to a weary world parted from loved ones because gathering with the most important people to you in the world, we are told, can be deadly.
     Once upon a time Volker Dunkake was a key instrument in the continued success of Lufthansa Charter, a can-do guy that never seems overwhelmed, and always gets the job done.
     Right now Volker is doing what he does best, and better than most others in our business, serving as Group Manager Charter & Solutions for Ingo Zimmer’s ATC GSSA located in the center of the action at Cargo City Sud at Frankfurt Airport.

Get It On Volker

Volker Dunkake and Thomas Baumert     ‘Get It On Volker’ is what we can say if you’ve got something to move and want it shipped worry free.
     There is no secret sauce here. Volker’s raison de etre, harkens back to a time when results-driven cargo executives were the product of a lifetime of best practices and great training. People like Volker and Thomas Baumert, Volker’s team partner and ATC CEO Ingo Zimmer are all a cut above, simply the best in the business.
     ‘Get It On Volker’ is the clarion call here and the invitation to ride ATC all the way in 2021.

The Global Force

     “We have formed a global taskforce headed by Thomas Baumert and myself in the Frankfurt office,” Volker said.
     “Since early last September our team has been preparing solutions for the global vaccine distribution,” he added.
     “Nobody that we deal with has been left in the dark to wonder what is next.
     “The best surprise is no surprise, so all relevant stakeholders have been identified and contacted including shippers, agents, ground handlers, airlines, container providers and trucking companies,” Volker declared.
     “Leaving no stone unturned, our taskforce is coordinating the worldwide pharma activities in the ATC global organization.
     “On the regional levels, ATC country managers and their pharma experts on site are empowered and responsible for local contacts and the implementation of the respective solutions.
     “The main origins for production are in Europe, India, Brazil, Korea, China and the USA.
     “Together with its airline partners, ATC GSSA impacts upwards of 300,000 tons of annual capacity and serves more than 500 destinations globally.
     “Our dialogue with ATC airline partners has been underway and ongoing for some time now, to insure every aspect of the supply chain is charged up, ready and well prepared for the international distribution campaign.
     “In other words, trust ATC.
     “We can do it all and are ready, willing and able to create and handle any solution using charter capacities on freighters and Preighters,” Volker said.
     Ingo Zimmer, Group CEO ATC Aviation Services is animated as vaccine distribution launched.
     “We are well aware of the importance of our role in the COVID-19 supply and we take it very seriously.”

Biggest Air Cargo In A Lifetime

Ingo Zimmer     “The distribution of the vaccines is most probably the biggest challenge for the movement of humanitarian relief goods we have ever seen,” Ingo declared.
     “Governments have been in the lead for ordering and distributing the vaccines to their people.
     “Hence priorities have been set up for national carriers to free up capacities for the vaccine distribution and commercial cargo will have to get in line.
     “ATC supports every component of our airline partners’ preparation and we have their back in every aspect of this challenging time.
     “Of course, managing the cool chain as well as the security factor in these movements is an enormous responsibility.
     “As example we have worked furiously to secure all the information, including everything down to the smallest details. Most importantly we are mindful of the expectations of everyone in the supply chain and have formulated best practices in order to meet any and all challenges.
     “Needed solutions have been developed for temperature requirements, routes, and expected daily export volumes.
     “With the collaboration and cooperation of all stakeholders, solutions for this challenging distribution campaign is something that we have been working on since last September,” Volker Dunkake said.
     “We needed to focus on a speedy temperature controlled transport to get these goods to destination in line with GDP requirements.
     “Working with our airlines and the stakeholders, like Shipper/GHA/Trucker we continue to define the specific requirements to meet all standards in order to be prepared for any contingency,” Thomas Baumert assured.

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GPO Built The Airlines Now Working On The Railroads

QRQares Cargo

   Every time I watch the 1939 film “Gone With The Wind” I think about Clark Gable finally packing it in and leaving Vivian Leigh.
   But then I imagine Clark’s character ‘Rhett Butler’ the next day sending a text message to Vivian’s ‘Scarlett O’Hara’ saying something like:
   “Is it Ok if I come over so we can hang out?”
   Well, as 2021 takes off and cargo is still topic-A in the transportation world, Qatar Cargo sends a message of hope for the New Year underscoring that despite every other challenge as COVID-19 continues, this global cargo resource indeed gives a damn.
   Qatar Airways Cargo says, “we are giving back to communities through WeQare, our Sustainability Project.
   “Sustainability - environment, society, economy and culture are being implemented at all levels of our business which is a real turning point for air freight and will make the cargo carrier’s operations more sustainable, going forward,” the carrier said.
   “We are deeply concerned about the legacy we leave for the future generation.
   “As a leading cargo carrier, we want to make CSR a key strategic element of our business and want our positive actions to have a ripple effect. Keeping this in mind, we are proud to present WeQare, a project close to the heart of every Qatar Airways Cargo employee,” said Guillaume Halleux, Chief Officer Cargo at Qatar Airways.
   Last July, Qatar Airways Cargo provided the free transport of 1 million kilos of humanitarian aid and medical equipment to charitable organizations.
   On January 4 the carrier said, “Chapter 2 in our WeQare will be announced later this month.
   “WeQare is about rethinking the business model, with sustainability as the main focus,” the carrier added.
   Working for the betterment of everybody in this now year plus pandemic crisis and otherwise time of uncertainty, is a lesson of conduct for all of us, we say.

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