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Family Aid 2020
   Vol. 20 No. 5
Monday February 8 , 2021
If you have any words you’d like to share, any of your own playlists you’d like us to help distribute, or other content that has helped you navigate this difficult time, please share them with us. Air Cargo News FlyingTypers hopes to be like an online hearth for our cargo family. #AirCargoCoronaContent

Sam Chui

“Hey FlyingTypers thanks, a lot of people are talking about what you wrote about us.”

     We thought about those oft-repeated words of encouragement to us and launched FlyingTalkers, a weekly podcast every Monday for air cargo 23 months ago.
     The podcast has made its mark and has driven us to cover all kinds of stories with people and companies around the world.
     We are deeply thankful to our listeners for their kind support and invite readers of FlyingTypers to join in the fun each week.
     I guess we could only expect that it would just be a matter of time until someone came along in the webinar/podcast form and branded something else in this spoken word category as talks or talking, or in case of today’s subject Cargo Talks. For the record, in publications Cargo Talk of India has been around as a multi-modal sheet for more than a decade. Cargo Talk is also a column in a publication called Cargo Airports & Airlines Services.
     Any way you look at it—there’s a whole lot of talking going on right now at a time when air cargo is the big star in the world of transportation.
     Turkish Airlines Cargo is putting up Cargo Talks, a first-time webinar that takes place beginning at 11:30 GMT Wednesday February 10.
     Turkish has brought in a celebrity host named Sam Chui. Sam Chui is a likeable chap, who always seems to be smiling. He is best known amongst YouTube addicts that enjoy living vicariously as Smilin’ Sam who flies first-class to far away places with strange sounding names, aboard every airline, waxing poetic of the details of his journey and loving it.
     What Smilin’ Sam, who lives in Dubai and Las Vegas, (glitz capitals) and is reportedly a millionaire, understands about air cargo is questionable.
     But fair to say, Smilin’ Sam knows a lot less about cargo than his knowledge of lie-flat seats.
     But let’s suspend disbelief, and hope Smilin’ Sam doesn’t get asked too many questions, and also that his sizeable audience comes along for a no-frills jumpseat ride into air cargo.

The Gang of 12

     The format for this event is a three-and-a-half-hour panel show featuring 12 people, many of whom can be viewed speaking to and about similar subjects elsewhere.
     So you might at least figure that they know what they are talking about.
     “The Future of Air Cargo”, “Digitalization of Air Cargo”, and “Vaccine Transportation” are the talking points.
     So will this semi-social business and advertorial effort by Turkish Cargo be a hit or a bust?
     The jury is still out on that one. But kudos for trying, no matter what.
     COVID-19 has brought about the era of Zoom, Facetime, WebEx, Skype, Adobe Connect, Google Hangout, Shindig, Amazon Chime, and others.
     It’s all new territory and about time industry leaders were more pro-active in this effort.

What We Have Herd

     No matter what happens here next week, we all need to roll up our sleeves and accept that this is the only type of meeting that is on the menu until next year when the world will reach (we hope) some form of what is now called “herd immunity”.
     Strange that in 2021, we are in this world as part of a family on the street where we live, also in the community, the town, the city, the state, the country and now, the herd is also us.

Night & Day

     There is some question of how a webinar broadcast works, when people have to be up at crazy hours all over the world to participate.
     Maybe Turkish Cargo can edit the event down to highlights or even make it available as a talking book event on YouTube or on their website.
     We wish them well.
     There are some challenges.
     Many people we talk to cannot remember the last time they listened through an entire webinar.
     The truth is that some webinars are boring. The dead give-away that the webinar is a bust is when panelists in the event get up and take a break.
     But webinars for air cargo and elsewhere are a new art. And as it is said you have to break an egg to make an omelet.
     We recall when FlyingTypers went about creating the then unheard of YouTube videos twenty years ago and produced a hundred of them.
     The first ones were 15 to 20 minutes long and full productions.
     Today an air cargo video that really works is less than three minutes.
     So maybe this webinar as we are told, a first put up by an airline for air cargo, will feature some new ideas.


     In addition to Smilin’ Sam, it will be about three hours of looking at small pictures of people on a computer screen; like talking newspaper sized head shots of the speakers.

Changing Backgrounds

Jaisey Yip     We get it about books and plants and certificates on the wall as backgrounds, but how about including some graphic art behind the speakers?
     As example, for Jaisey Yip, General Manager Cargo & Logistics Development, Changi Airport (one of the panelists, pictured left), how about some views of that beautiful airport and maybe a picture of the Infinity pool atop the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, where the most recent World Cargo Symposium was held?
     That view of the water until the edge, would liven up senses and strengthen the words being spoken as we hope and dream for another in-person air cargo event some time in the future that is not life-threatening.

Movies Are A Mother To Conversation

     And maybe, since Turkish Airlines creates beautiful short films about the airline and various topics, why not make three more short films as set ups to form a parameter to drive the scheduled conversations?

Me & Jane on A Plane

     So maybe the Cargo Talks gang of 12, spiced up with Kahoot games and the promise of some gifts for participants, including free-tickets with perhaps the possibility to fly around with Smilin’ Sam will be a new departure for air cargo that will evolve and grow?
     We hope so.
     While we were writing about this event, we took a break to wash up, and had a long deep look in the mirror and thought about this upcoming webinar Wednesday.
     Here is the takeaway:
     If you can’t do better, applaud!
     More Info:

Harry Nilsson Everybody's Talkin'

Everybody’s Talkin' . . . a tune from his great album Aerial Pandemonium Ballet, that was immortalized in the film “Midnight Cowboy”, here is the late, great Harry Nilsson in 1968, talking the talk.

chuckles for February 8, 2021

Praveen Sharma     But not this year . . .
     The flower farms at Bengaluru, Pune and a few other places are alive with color but this has not brought smiles to the growers and exporters.
     Reason: Covid-19 and its aftermath.
     Praveen Sharma, President, Indian Society of Floriculture Professionals (IFSP) was blunt when he told FlyingTypers:
     “Let’s separate the signal from the noise. 2020 was the toughest year in the recent past for Indian flower growers for two reasons: the Covid-19 lockdown and the Nisarg Cyclone.
     “The two dealt blows that were both catastrophic and fatal for many flower growers,” Sharma said.

Nothing From Nothing Means Nothing

     “During the lockdown there was zero revenue, with the regular operational expenses,” Praveen Sharma confided.
     “And then came the Nisarg cyclone in western India adding to the agony of the flower growers.
     “While on the one hand they were still trying to survive the COVID-19 effects, the cyclone did further damage to greenhouse structures leading some big players to close down their operations altogether,” Mr. Sharma said.

No Rosey Futures

     The COVID-19 knockout punch saw flower exports plummet 15 percent (April-October 2020) to 9,446 tons from 11,144 tons at the same time in 2019.
     India’s flower exports, in value terms, fell 11 percent to $41 million ($47 million in same period last year).
     Right now India’s major export shipments for Valentine’s Day are destined for the UK, which has 35 percent of the Indian flower exports, followed by Japan 19 percent, Australia 18 percent, and the rest Malaysia, Singapore and Holland.

All Dressed Up With Nowhere To Go

     “Valentine's which usually accounts for almost 20-30 percent of total annual revenue in exports,” said Sharma, “continues to be negatively impacted this year due to various lockdowns going on currently in European countries,” Sharma declared.

Demand Is Flat

     Exporters in Bengaluru and Pune, we talked to in late January 2021 said there was hardly any demand.
     What little there is has felt the downward pressure of sky-high freight rates and put out of mind any thoughts for much needed profits amongst Indian growers.
     Christmas and New Year did not bring any hope and now with Valentine’s Day and Easter around the corner, flower exporters believe that they will have to wait and hang on for dear life for maybe another cycle for the business to take off again.

Inifresh Farms Fares No Better

Hariharan Subramanian     Hariharan Subramanian, founder and CEO, Indifresh and one of the top flower exporters with farms in Talegaon near Pune said: “Covid-19 has severely impacted the export of fresh cut flowers from India.”
     “India exports fresh cut roses to European markets especially UK and Netherlands. Other exports of fresh cut flowers are to Australia, New Zealand and the Far East. In the international market India exports compete with Kenya, Ethiopia and other East African countries.
     “The exports to UK, and Europe are mainly targeted to multiple retailers,” he said.
Subramanian was not alone.

Freight Rates Double Trouble

     In Bengaluru, Venkatarao Kopuru, Director, Iris Biotech Pvt. Ltd - a grower of Roses, Carnations, Gerbera, Lilliums, Tube rose and Gladiola, and exporting to Malaysia, Australia, Middle East and Europe, said “COVID has impacted our business very badly. We had hardly any sales in the first 8 months of 2020.
     “The times are very tough.
     “We need to invest money to pay for farm wages, salaries, etc.”
     Even as growers/exporters tackle little or no demand, freight rates as outlined earlier have been up and down the line on an upward swing. In fact, freight rates for flowers have virtually doubled.
     The shipping cost to Europe, which was only Rs 70-80 ($1-$1.10) per kg has gone up to Rs 200-225 ($2.74-$3.08) per kg.

Growing Concern Ahead

     Never mind the challenge of weather and climate for a moment, the London-born, Mumbai-bred Subramanian, in fact, is deeply concerned as Valentine’s Day and Easter 2021 approaches.
     “Indifresh through the Pune-based Orion Flora has trained farmers to grow roses to the rigid UK specifications.
     “We are very concerned about exports for Valentine's Day 2021, as we are no longer competitive with Kenya or Ethiopia due to our higher freight rates.
     Rates from Kenya are at Rs 160 ($2.30) per kg and we are currently not competitive,” he said.

No Subsidies From India

     Subramanian also pointed out there was no support/subsidy from the Indian Government and with COVID-19 resulting in reduction of area under cultivation, it will be Valentine's at a 1.0 while everybody was hoping for at least a 2.
     For Valentine’s Day, for example, Subramanian’s oufit sends out almost four to six million stems of roses.
     “Space restrictions,” he said, “due to COVID vaccines . . . gives us no way to reach market, so negative impact on exports will continue this year,” he said.

Sridhar ChowdaryFor A Saving Grace

     Another Bengaluru exporter, Sridhar Chowdary M, Group CEO, Vinayaka Agritech & Suvarna Florex Ltd. could not agree more. Chowdary, a member of the Export Promotion Forum (EPF) of APEDA (Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority) and the International Flower Auction Centre, Bengaluru, mentioned that in comparison to 2020, air freight rates are very high – in fact, double for some sectors and three times for Australia and New Zealand.
     “Even if we do 80 percent of last year,” he said, “it will be a good sign for the industry”.
     “The only saving grace, if one may term it that, was that “even the Chinese and African exporters also have to pay higher air freight rates as compared to last year.”

Vaccine Now Flowers Later?

     As for space constraints due to COVID vaccines, Chowdary, despite the losses, sees the need and understands why it must be people first, saying:
     “Vaccination is very important for everyone's benefit.
     “The vaccines really do not occupy more space”, he insists.
     “Also, we have already given space bookings for our Valentine shipments to the Far East, the Middle East countries and to Australia & New Zealand.”

Good News/Bad News

     He was quick to add, “The good news is that more flights are scheduled. Air India and Singapore Airlines are doing a great job especially for flower exports.
     “But cancellation of flights to UK will negatively impact the floriculture exports. UK was one of the big markets for us for the New Year and Valentine’s Day season,” Praveen Sharma concluded.
     “Looking at markets, we have been hit hardest,” Subramanian said by the stoppage of all flights to and from the UK.
     “Since COVID-19 and the restriction of international flights to and from India has reduced the number of flights to approximately 25 percent of the usual numbers.
     “This has resulted in increase of freight rates by 300 percent for fresh cut flowers.
     “The Mumbai-London pre-COVID freight rate was Rs 130 ($1.78) per kg for fresh cut flowers and now is approximately Rs 380 ($5.20) per kg.”

Priced Out By Rates

     “As a result, Indian flowers are priced out of the market and exports of cut flowers to Europe has completely stopped.”
     He said that small shipments had restarted to New Zealand and the Far East in the last month, “but the majority of the European exports will only begin, once rates come back to normal levels.”

Looking For A Savior

     While Sharma expects shipments to Malaysia, Singapore and Middle East could help the flower exporters, Kopuru of Iris Biotech hopes that the frequency of freighter flights will increase and so will passenger flights soon.
     “Until that time we have to find various ways for survival,” he said.

Battle For Survival

     Subramanian’s action plan for 2021 is to survive the pandemic, wait for the market to re-open as wholesale markets in Europe and UK are shut due to the pandemic.      “Hopefully freight rates will come down soon and we will revive our export business.
     “The retailers have replaced supply chains and we can only hope that we will regain our lost business.”
     Even so, his Orion Flora is shipping to UK for Valentine's Day 2021 but volumes are at 50 percent of a normal year.

Flower People Grow With Adversity

     Subramanian, along with the other grower/exporters was surprised at the resilience of the industry and the people growing flowers for exports.
     “The 2020 cycle was without exception the most challenging year for the flower industry in India”, said Subramanian, adding “but most growers that are still left in the business today are positive that conditions will improve and exports will resume.
     “The challenge is to keep the business viable until then and keep cashflows going.”
Tirthankar Ghosh, New Delhi

FlyingTalkers podcastFlyingTalkers

Can Cargo Talks Walk The Walk

Rates Clobber Indian Flower Exports

Email graphicRE:  Desperately Seeking Networking

Good morning Geoffrey,

     This can either be a very belated New Year's wishes for the western New Year or an early New Year's wishes for the Chinese New Year although it is considered bad luck to wish anybody happy New Year ahead of the actual New Year's Day for a Chinese New Year!!!
     Reading your most recent article about the trend towards virtual online meetings, a subject that is of course of high interest to everybody, although I would agree that most of the value that is added by such events occurs during the coffee breaks and in the evenings in the bar which of course can never be virtual, I can imagine that conference organizers must be scratching their heads wondering how their business will look in the future.
     But I would suggest that there is an absolute parallel discussion to be had about the move to online training, and here I think ULD CARE is taking an initiative. Online training has been available for many years in some form or other but the difficulty has always been to assess the amount of knowledge the trainee has absorbed, multiple-choice, tick the box tests are very limited in their capability and you might not even be sure that the person doing the test is the person whose name is on the paper.
     And of course the more traditional classroom type training as offered by IATA will almost certainly have to undertake an enormous adjustment given the high costs of moving people around in order to conduct such trainings.
     However, this is where virtual reality training comes in because it is now possible to create a virtual reality of the actual working environment and require the trainee to identify right from wrong in a random but yet controlled manner. ULD CARE, working alongside Airport College has produced just such a product to enable online virtual reality training for the pre-use inspection of containers pallets and nets. Of course virtual reality training has been used in flight simulators for many, many years, but that is enormously expensive; what we now have today is the ability to deliver virtual reality training at very acceptable cost levels on a very widespread basis and I would argue that this is indeed groundbreaking.
     Here are 4 links on this subject:

Bob Rogers
Vice President and Treasurer

Year of The Ox

Kung Hei Fat Choy, is a Cantonese Hong Kong greeting that many people say at Lunar New Year.
     The words mean “wishing you to make lots of money or a fortune.”
     Lunar New Year begins this week on February 12.
     “The Year of the Ox” celebration continues for 15 days.

Beyond The Lockdown

     But we are locked down during COVID-19 and going out for almost anything, let alone dining, is currently not an option.
     But we, in this air cargo business are dreamers and doers.
     So relax and dream a little dream about post-pandemic life returning to some kind of normal.
     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.

Never A Gloomy Sunday

     I recall a Sunday alone a couple of decades ago at the downtown Mandarin Hotel in Taipei, right near Nanking Road. The Mandarin was 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 lifestyle, 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 was always a good buy. The place was clean, if a bit faded. The restaurant served Chinese and American breakfast around the clock, which is always a good bet.
     The Mandarin was also equipped with a staff of husbands and wives who seemed to live and tend to individual floors.
     You were sure a gracious staff member would see you to your door following check-in, and it was no surprise when your arrival was heralded with hot tea and cookies.
     Once I stumbled into my room after a 19-hour flight and jumped straight into the shower, only to discover my disheveled heap of clothes had been neatly pressed and hung.
     Lots of expatriate fliers and business types stayed 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.

Get More Out Of Life

     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.
     Anyone can read a review and fork over a lot of cash. The Chinese restaurants in Flushing, New York offer a variety of exceptional choices.
     The idea after the COVID-19 has not changed.
     Have a little fun.
     Think about everything you do.
     What are you getting out of living this life?
     Wherever you are, make some time 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.

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Vol. 20 No 2
Our Martin Changed Air Cargo
Chuckles for January 19, 2021
Vaccine Arriving on Global Runways
Operation Warp Speed USA

Vol. 20 No. 3
Take a Tip from the Tulips
Chuckles for January 24, 2021
Petal to the Metal
LH Cargo FRA Facility Revamp

Vol. 20 No. 4
Desperately Seeking Networking
Chuckles for February 2, 2021
Why Lionel Matters
Top Cargo Readies for
V-Day 2021

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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