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Family Aid 2020
   Vol. 20 No. 6
Tuesday February 16 , 2021
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Boubby Grin

     Once upon a time in Amsterdam, a team of people the stars fell on operated KLM Cargo.
     This group went out and changed air cargo all over the world and their impact endures yet today at KLM and elsewhere.
     There was Jacques Ancher, the top cargo executive blazing new trails, and there was Boubby Grin, a marketing and strategy guru, the likes of whom our industry had never before encountered, and may never see again.
     Jacques is OK, safe at home in Netherlands as you read this.
     Boubby Grin died of cancer in Leiden at age 74 on January 28, 2021.
     “What Boubby Grin, who was a true intellectual, did that matters,” his friend and colleague Jan Meurer said, “was by careful study; the ability to grasp the big picture; and develop a vision that transformed logistics, not only for KLM but also for the rest of the world as well.
Jacques Ancher and Jan Meurer     “When I joined KLM Cargo in 1988, (Jan retired in 2006) I gravitated to Jacques, of course and also Boubby,” Jan Meurer said.
     “With leadership from Jacques & Boubby, our team developed the KLM Cargo strategy.
     “He was a very deep thinker, and did not suffer fools easily.
     “Logistics to Boubby was science and romance and art and his life.
     “From that time inside the offices and meeting rooms at Schiphol, KLM Cargo developed the vertical integration model from manufacturer to consignee and the global transport chain in action, that we know in one form or another today.
     “Boubby was a loner, very likeable. We had a great time, both in and out of the business.
     “When he died,” Jan Meurer recalled, “he had just a few people around him.”
     “He was a singular force unto himself, who did things his way, but he also went out and made huge contributions to the logistics world.
     “Boubby Grin basically spent his entire life dedicated to advancing and developing logistics.
     “He loved bicycling and outdoor activities and he had a wonderful retreat in France where he spent time.
     “But his passion always came back to encouraging everyone to think in broad terms of how to advance the air cargo proposition at KLM from Combis to Quick Change aircraft to how cargo moved from A to Z.
     “I recall the creative center of KLM Cargo with Jacques and Boubby was always very high energy, deep study, long fruitful meetings that served as a foundation for the air cargo business. Surveying the landscape in 2021 those same practices are carried out everywhere today.
     “It was a very exciting time,” Jan Meurer recalled.
     “He could be tough and blunt to be sure but his special talent was the expansive way he approached logistics.
     “Boubby brought everybody along for the ride.
     “At KLM Cargo, you felt the sky was no limit.
     “He was the professor, we were the students given a voice to put his theories into practice.
     “Jacques Ancher created an environment where you were encouraged to do your best, and to not shrink away from new ideas but rather to plunge ahead and knowing that Boubby would be there to help things along made it that much easier,” Jan concluded.

Word Up Boubby

Jan Krems     “Not to sound arrogant, but working with Boubby at KLM early in my career was inspiring and exciting and frankly he played a key role in making us the best,” says Jan Krems, President of United Airlines Cargo.
     Krems and his team at United lead the world in all cargo flights during the pandemic.
     “Now 25 years later I can say that his vision was spot on.
     “He was a true futurist and thus way ahead of his time.
     “And the people who were part of the KLM clan in those days, we were fearless and famous as such.
     “I can tell you we still use these strategies in many board rooms today.
     “Boubby… RIP," Jan Krems said softly.
     “An airplane doesn’t mean anything to us,” Boubby told the publication Aerlines in 1996.
     “We put cargo as easily on a boat or in a truck.
     “There is a tendency that after 40 to 50 years, differences in a sector start to fade.
     “When this happens to a business, you have to be cautious.
     “Most cargo air transport services are offered by forwarders, not by airliners.
     “The client does not care how the forwarder does his job, as long as his cargo is delivered in good fashion.
     “The forwarder does so on his own account and liability,” Boubby Grin said.

Boubby Grin

Becoming True Blue

Stan Wraight     “When I came to work with KLM at the Marketing division (1969),” Boubby told Aerlines, “that operation was a big unsegmented division, marketing all KLM activities.
     “I was posted at the cargo account, primarily with the task to make commercial analyses.
     “In 1969 there was no real cargo division at KLM, only the marketing part and some operational services, although air cargo was already in the KLM services since the 1920’s,” Boubby said.
     The thing about Boubby is that he never backed up, even at 74.
     His friend and colleague Stan Wraight (right) remembers:
     “Boubby and I shared ideas, information and debated in the friendliest way how to get the message across that we (air cargo) must change.”

Visit To Another Planet

     It may be difficult in our COVID-19 world to find the time to remember, especially when we are often these days stuck in the middle of jokers and clowns.
     But Boubby was the real deal.
     How to explain KLM Cargo during the Boubby Grin time is a horse of a different color.
     It was all so high adventure. These people were excited and engaged and nothing was beyond imagination.
     The electric tenor was all around.
     Here is an example of that time, a small one perhaps, but I think revealing.
KLM Cargo, based in the City of Rembrandt and Vincent, decided that this arts and flowers hub of the world should carry that culture forward to people everywhere. Under the aegis of Jacques Ancher, an outreach project was launched, a first of its kind for our industry.
     KLM Cargo set about placing galleries of original art and sculptures in offices and even in cargo operations at Schiphol that were created and submitted by local artists from worldwide destinations served by the airline.
     In most cargo facilities you might have needed a tetanus shot to enter a working cargo operations pick-up and delivery area.
     But at KLM Cargo, the spirit of people all along the supply chain challenged all the senses and was inclusionary from top to bottom.
     At KLM during the era of Ancher and Boubby, the art of cargo and the world was presented as an uplifting concert.
     Today that chorus is diminished amongst us, stuck here in the mortal coil.
     We are missing his voice as we celebrate the life of Boubby Grin.
     Happy landings always, Boubby.
Song For Boubby

chuckles for February 16, 2021

Turkish Cargo Talks
     Last week Turkish Cargo Talks, a three-hour webinar went out worldwide.
     We watched it.
     Here is our take.
     The event opened with about five minutes from host Smilin' Sam Chui. Chui is a reality star who flies around and eats dinner in first class on everybody’s airline and shares the experience with his large global audience living vicariously every mile aloft. After Smilin' Sam’s debut chat, he reappeared introducing the sessions between various speakers and at times seemed somewhat surprised at what he was learning about air cargo.
Ilker Ayci      Turkish Airlines CEO Ilker Ayci in person introduced Turkish Airlines’ Cargo Talks webinar by providing perfectly relevant numbers, both hopeful and proud. There was talk about Turkish Cargo building an impressive new handling facility, and carrying 40 million shots of vaccine so far and also the cargo business becoming a separate company. Not much about what the new company really means, but I guess this will become clearer in time. I was struck by the CEO’s statement that THY had not laid off any member of their staff in 2020, despite the pandemic. Turkish airlines was said to have reached 6th cargo operators rank in 2020 and aims to reach a place among the first three. Lots of pictures and graphs and time for the naughty viewers to check their mail or have a drink, as the opening took longer than other webinars.
Turhan Ozen     This one followed an ascending path, with CEO Ayci’s declared intention to “find novel ways to cooperate”, supplemented by Turkish Airlines Chief Cargo Officer Turhan Özen’s additional and quite optimistic figures. We all know how successful Turkish has been in recent years; in contrast I watched and wondered, why are we not talking about what air cargo might do to accelerate less suffering in the world? If we did, could it actually do it, or would it just be wishful thinking in this case? The rich presentation provided by Pharma Aero’s van Gelder gave us a clear idea of the complexity of the logistics challenge. So that told me that the acceleration was not a low hanging fruit. Patience is the virtue of the strong.
     After MOC Chui’s intermission, we were served a first panel discussion about the future of air cargo, trying to settle on a 2030-2040 outlook that remained a bit unfathomable. Asia, in particular China, was expected to take front stage in the world trade and grow faster than others, and perhaps one could argue that this is the present rather than the future. All agreed that issues with capacity and prices will continue unless a game changer appears on stage.
     I was hoping for a greater difference in the opinions, but I was not going to find it. Where were the dissenters, the people who are not satisfied, with the status-quo who might take off the gloves and reveal a different plan; create some breakthrough thinking? Maybe in the second panel.
     Most of us are in a battle for survival when it comes to making a living, or most recently being safe and keeping ourselves and loved ones alive and well during the global pandemic. The stylish webinar, which was perfectly organized both at technical and visual level, was sailing at a distance from the pressure. The Turkish Airlines webinar on February 10 was trying to convey a message that remained technical and dispassionate. Most speakers were Dutch native-speaker males, perhaps this contributed to the absence of argument. It felt strangely disconnected to reality as these well-meaning individuals floated their theories and experiences. Issues such as the rise of e-commerce could have taken a smaller share of limelight in this world of 2021 turned upside down, but both panels took a more socially distanced approach.
     I think I shouted at the screen a couple times, everyone knows I am passionate about airlines, airfreight in particular and the hardly sociable period did not dampen my instincts. So I lit the fire and poured an adult beverage. I continued listening to the second panel which dealt with the issue of digitization of air cargo. Lining up IATA, Agility, Champs and Freightos and other professionals, the discussion was more passionate and intriguing: how do we change our mind from digitizing paper documents to creating the right environment for data sharing. One could argue that it is surprising it has not happened yet, but the takeaway was that the pandemic has indeed worked as an accelerator in the process. So my original question on how can we make things happen faster was gaining momentum. This being said, even this panel was run at a noticeable level of concord and there were no killer questions asked.
     Why are we no longer able to bring divergent views to the table to heat things up? As in many other aspects of life, we seem to have developed an aversion to any form of disagreement. Is it really necessary to be so immaculately polite to truly advance air cargo?
     Cargo Talks by Turkish Cargo was a promising, expensive looking, slickly produced, semi-advertorial featuring more than a few participants with expertise that could have raised many more questions. It was a big production with a big set with big graphics and big models of cargo aircraft and a full-sized MC and some of the best people from Turkish Airlines. What was small were the images of the people on the screen. Little postage stamps of talking heads arranged six on the screen in that flat slightly out of focus fashion of this early generation of computer-to-computer meetings reminiscent of what we have seen in family and business interaction via this medium so far. I miss the talks at the bar, where you can really ask a nasty question and get an even nastier answer and still make progress.
     Some day we will dial up snazzy backgrounds adding some rippling motion themes behind these people just like the news anchors on television when we are meeting in this fashion, I thought.
     I guess we can all stay tuned for more about that.
Sam Chui Turkish Airlines

Ernie Croner     We were thinking about our friend Ernie Croner, who in 1977 was amongst the earliest airport cargo marketing managers. Ernie worked for Massport, operator of Boston Logan International Airport.
     No, we did not write “person of color cargo marketing managers” because Ernie was all by himself in a job that subsequently was created by other airports everywhere in the world.
     Ernie saw Boston, as an airline destination, getting its brains beaten out by New York City for flights and cargo.
     So Ernie came up with a very imaginative marketing campaign for Boston with the help of my mother, the late Eleanor Jane Arend.
     Actually by the time the creative went to press and ran for a few months in all the trade newspapers and magazines of the time, the campaign advertisement that a Boston ad agency came up with was a full classic.
     The ad included a girl in a T-shirt with a replica of the big apple logo, the symbol of New York City printed on the front with the famous words “I Love New York—”
     The advertisement then revealed the back of the T-Shirt with the words:
“But I ship Through Boston!”
     Ernie handed out those T-Shirts by the thousands at every air cargo gathering, and especially in New York.
     We were thinking of Ernie last week when we ran a picture of Smilin' Sam Chui, who hosted the Turkish Airlines webinar Cargo Talks on February 10th.
     Only thing was Smilin' Sam was pictured situate behind a massive and quite sumptuous first class meal aboard an Emirates flight.
     An Emirates picture of a guy as MC at a Turkish Cargo event?
     We thought about that.
     In truth, Smilin' Sam is a YouTube celeb and a story in himself for he has flown every airline you have ever heard of in first class and then shared that experience with his YouTube devotees.
     So thinking Smilin' Sam as we created coverage for Turkish Cargo last week we could not find a picture of Sam chowing down on a Turkish flight.      But now recalling the experience with our friend, dear Ernie, our picture of Smilin' last week might to be a bit misleading.
     “I work for Turkish Cargo but fly on Emirates!”
     We think not.
     Here with apologies for any unintended consequences is Smilin' Sam in high style with his champagne dinner date, taking it all in, this time aboard a Turkish Airlines flight, up where he belongs.

A Walk On The Lighter Side

     Fun and games as mentioned were part of the mix, so occasionally during the first two and half hours, back came Smilin' Sam doing his MC thing between sessions. The contests and prizes and promos, we supposed, were advanced along the way to keep viewers from sliding off, as it happens in many webinars. Those who stuck it out with the three-hour long broadcast eventually must have thought they might strike it rich in prizes and air travel as the lots of games and goodies were offered.
Frank Van Gelder     The final session touched on COVID-19, a 40-minute presentation by Frank Van Gelder, Secretary General of Pharma Aero, who managed to explain in great detail the work done the past year. He also mentioned an interesting example of a novel logistics approach to vaccines in the Brussel/Montevideo air bridge.      However, the many graphs Frank brought to the screen were complex and because they were squished into an image shared with Frank, some of the graphs were difficult to read. Perhaps Frank could have moved himself out of the presentation slides? On the other hand, one could also buy a bigger screen for the PC. You never know what is right. In any case, Frank has been down this road before and most of the content is covered in one way or another on www.pharma.aero.
     Our thought is that webinars, big and complex like this one, created with so much passion and fine human effort will eventually figure these things out. Let us not forget that we are still, in a way, at the beginning of a new process.

Need To Proceed

     Air cargo as an industry needs to further embrace this remote communication outreach.
     First, we must not be told one more time by some special interest groups amongst us that it is a good idea to have a live meeting anywhere in the world during 2021.
     Common sense says, stay put in 2021 as the COVID-19 continues to be life-threatening. As you read this mid-February the world is still locked down.
     Everyone needs to realize that trade show organizers and organizations that exist for their members and companies on all sides of the business need to cooperate and conduct webinars and other means of contact until science signals the all clear from COVID-19.
     In terms of air cargo future—we need to engage wherever possible toward accelerating on all fronts. Our contact in these webinars needs to be driven toward breakthrough thinking and be challenged to go viral to bring on change.
     As we meet and share thoughts of change as never before, my feeling is that once spoken the mouth feel to advance will be there, so we will shape the building of a future together.
     Right now is the time to pull out all the stops and set our collective imaginations free because this is our nano-second of fame, whilst air cargo occupies a place in the world, and in popular culture, that it never did before. So kudos to panel two for passionately pleading to accelerate the creation of a data sharing environment.

Hammerin' Henk

Henk Mulder     Henk Mulder of IATA led the panel with people in tuned to digitization.
     Next panel let’s expand that idea and hear more from those in the field doing the day-to-day work.
     They are the ones that know the best in a lot of cases.
     You need the leaders of companies to direct their company’s thinking into what would work better and making changes more easily with the use of API programming and use of the cloud.
     It is time to get accelerated to see a day when all the technology is truly adopted and integrated.
     It seems that the pandemic has moved the brain cells to get really engaged on how to do things differently.
     Air cargo has come a long way on the journey to improve and it is evolving into its next age of change.

History Is Alive

     These are not flinty DC4 freighters saving the black and white City of Berlin. Every day look up at the mightiest airplanes flying around, building cargo business in the air from a once upon a time trickle to a flood of air commerce.
     Dick Malkin, the original air cargo journalist, envisioned this change in his 1952 book “Boxcars in The Sky”. Well in 2021, the change is real and it is upon us.
     The question is, what are we going to do about it?

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Did Turkish Cargo Talks Work?

Boubby & Life with a Grin

Kölner Karneval

     Right now all around the world a season of special celebrations begins.
     Last week came Lunar New Year.
     This week was Valentine’s Day followed by President’s Day.
     Mardi Gras in New Orleans, a mere shadow of itself in COVID-19 2021, is celebrating Fat Tuesday today, noting the beginning of Lent on Wednesday and 40 days until Easter.
     In Germany, specifically in Cologne this week where a glass of Kölsch and a pretzel are high art, is Kölner Karneval.
     Yesterday was Rosenmontag (Rose Monday) the highlight of Karneval that takes place every year on Shrove Monday before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.
     Now will come unlimited fields of tulips and other flowers of Spring 2021, as life pulls itself up by the bootstraps attempting to get back to normal, despite the pandemic and persistent lockdowns.
     This is about Karneval in Cologne. And as they say, Kölle Alaaf!
     Since right now all of us could use a good party, here is one virtually!
     OK, maybe this week as Karneval continues, folks are not gathering as pictured here and in fact maybe are at home in front of the TV watching the action dressed up in a tux T shirt, but suspend disbelief and let’s roll.
Jo Frigger     In the picture as Karneval was celebrated in 2007 is Jo Frigger, CEO of EMO Trans.
     That year folks also raised a glass to the 50th anniversary of Köln/Bonn Airport that was returned to civilian use in 1957.
     But this year as Köln/Bonn marks service for 64 years, we share what Jo Frigger, CEO of EMO Trans told us about the beginning of his air cargo career when he worked at Köln/Bonn for Haniel in 1958.
     “Sixty plus years ago as Köln/Bonn opened for business we were like a family in air cargo.
     “We called the airport a garden restaurant with a runway.
     “The restaurant had the "Pilot's Corner," a cozy place in the bar, where we met quite regularly, had our Kölsch (the local beer), and discussed God, the world, and the airport.”
     “We were proud of our new airport and made sure, that cargo from borderline
areas where the freight could go to Düsseldorf or Frankfurt would wind up in
     “Many of the guys from the Pilot's Corner wound up as successful forwarders
and with airlines around the world,” Jo Frigger recalled.
     The group became known as "The Cologne Mafia" a bunch of fellows, loosely connected who - competition or not – “stuck together and lent a hand when one was needed,” Jo Frigger said.
     “The guys from Düsseldorf, the archrival of Cologne, made a joke about the
name Wahn, the small town next to the airport.
     “The word ‘wahn’ has a double meaning in German.
     “The other meaning means delusion.
     “So the boys in Düsseldorf coined the phrase "Doch es ist nur ein leerer Wahn"
—"But it is only an empty Wahn." (delusion)
     “We did not care much for that.
     “We ignored the barb and just kept going, and today the airport of Cologne has grown to be one of the major hubs for cargo in Western Europe,” Jo concluded.
     EMO Trans based in USA with offices and partners worldwide, is a top line logistics resource.

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Publisher-Geoffrey Arend • Managing Editor-Flossie Arend • Editor Emeritus-Richard Malkin
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