It was perhaps inevitable that
the swift and dramatic response of air cargo during 2020 and 2021
has offered logistics dividend celebrity as a “glamour industry.”
Even Boeing is selling freighters having announced a “December
Surprise” this week from UPS of a reported 160 new and used”
UPS has often arrived at Boeing’s
door on a white horse and in some cases even saved the day, like
once when Big Brown bought a couple B747-8Fs that we recall kept
that production line open.
You could hear the sigh of relief
all the way from Seattle.
Right now an assortment of crystal-ball
gazers whose official positions presumably endow them with rare
divinatory powers are pouring over results from 2021.
Flushed by the cargo industry’s
recent impressive advances, well-regarded personalities—emboldened
by growth rate statistics and swept up in the excitement of chatting
up cargo while strapped in first class—have donned the conical
hat of the seer, predicting a phenomenal future for air cargo.
Bill Boesch has always been the common
sense voice in the throng. From the early days at Seaboard World
and at Pan Am Clipper Cargo; serving as President of American Airlines
Cargo for Bob Crandall, as logistics specialist at Operation Iraqi
Freedom where he was recognized with the USA Medal of Freedom for
his dedication and service, and most recently as a key player at
Operation Warp Speed, Bill Boesch for more than a half a century
has been in the thick of the movement to advance air cargo at the
airlines wherever he has served.
For air cargo 2021 was a year of
The virus catalyzed air cargo and
freighters into the limelight.
While that has been continuing, air
passengers are slowly coming back in fits and starts and hence thebelly
capacity that normally accounts for about 60 to 70% of overall air
cargo lift has been slow to recover.
At the same time the various COVID-19
attacks have altered consumer purchasing patterns from retail brick
and mortar stores to internet as millions have migrated to online
shopping, giving dramatic rise to cargo companies like Amazon, FedEx
That was the bright side for air cargo
But like Star Wars, a dark force is
at work here at the same time.
Air Cargo freighters are expensive
to operate driving rates upward.
At the same time many old line retail
companies have gone out of business while others have had to reduce
their number of retail operations as people have stopped going to
work for fear of becoming sick.
That situation continues not helped
much by governments ongoing compensation offerings replacing paying
jobs that over time has the net effect of weakening several countries
The passenger airlines continue to
suffer despite governments who were already not subsidizing them
continuing to providing financial assistance to keep them alive.
The big question is not what nor why
2021 happened, but what will happen to air cargo and freighters
ahead in 2022 to 2025?
My holiday wish for everyone is that
whatever lies ahead helps promote world peace so that our children
and grandchildren live a life in a safe and prosperous world.
President & CEO
Cargo Logistics Solutions
Jan Krems can’t go home.
Now everything flies after Jan spent
the better part of the past two years showing everybody the way
to Cargo during the pandemic.
United Cargo numbers have just been
sensational and Krems had the Chicago-based airline out of the gate
But how do you keep that up?
Well, if you love the industry but
have a Castle in Spain with a vineyard, the choices after a half
dozen years of pumping traffic punctuated by the worst pandemic
crises in 100 years would be obvious.
Skim the pool, work the weed-wacker,
coddle the grapes, make a paella, sounds inviting.
Guess what, Jan just signed a new
contract so the garden wacker gets traded in for Wacker Drive HQ
for UA in Chicago.
And the Godfather gambit-theme? A
sales meeting a couple years back. Somebody
got an offer they could not refuse . . .
This holiday season, I wish everyone
peace, joy and happiness—something we could all use more of.
I truly believe that 2022 will be a better year than 2021 as long
as we remain healthy and get some much-needed rest. I hope that
everyone makes time to spend with their loved ones and comes back
refreshed and reinvigorated in the New Year. Above all, we need
to come together and support each other and spread some goodwill.
My biggest wish for the New Year is
that we are all safe and healthy. I also hope that we can begin
to return to normal—the new normal—or whatever will
become the future state of normal. That is, I want to see our passenger
side of the business return, whether it is connecting our passengers
to their family or loved ones, taking our leisure travelers to new
and exciting destinations around the world, or having our business
passengers return to make deals, visit colleagues and keep the world
My priorities for 2022 are to continue
supporting our customers to keep the global supply chain moving.
I want to keep our United Cargo employees safe and healthy. Also,
just as important, we will continue to deliver life-saving vaccines
around the world in an effort to curb the pandemic and move forward
with life. By working together, we can have a safe and prosperous
doubt as this tender picture underscores these lovely children of
Mr. & Mrs. Tim Strauss, can make us all feel better for this
time of year.
Tim is CEO of Amerijet International,
and as it turns out “is a caring guy who will share lessons
learned from his vast experience, keen insight, and visions as Airforwarders
Association conducts our big annual AirCargo
Conference in New Orleans, beginning January 17,” promises
Brandon Fried President of AfA.
The beautiful Crescent City is one
of the outstanding experiences of a lifetime.
Great venue & meeting; great people
and food and music that is simply sublime!
“We are incredibly excited about
our conference keynote speaker, Tim Strauss, who will share lessons
learned from his vast experience, keen insight, and visions of the
future,” Brandon Fried President of AfA said.
“We predict that the current
frenetic business pace will continue throughout 2022 and into the
beginning of 2023. As a result, air and sea capacity will be challenging,
as will congested maritime ports and major gateway airports. In
addition, of course, we remain concerned about the shortage of truck
drivers and look forward to working with the White House and government
agencies in addressing these challenges throughout the upcoming
“We are on the road again and
are resuming our active in-person outreach schedule with a recent
visit to share our perspective at a conference in Newport, RI, land
also visited with an airport ground handling company on Monday in
Miami. We plan more visits throughout 2022 and look forward to seeing
our members throughout the country.”
And laying his finger aside of his
nose, and giving a nod:
Up the chimney he rose!
“Stay well and have a Merry
The old norm, the holiday rush began in October,
new norm is it’s year ‘round,
The old norm,
air cargo heavy pickup days were Monday and Tuesday, the new norm
is get in line every day and wait.
world we know in air cargo is changing every day. What hasn’t
changed is the dedication of those that move the cargo on the ground
and are really the unseen heroes in our industry.
hopes are that we can once again meet in person and see our friends
and colleagues less on Zoom and more face-to-face without having to
fear we may be spreading unwanted viruses between us.
hope and pray that we will move away from these dark times and the
light of goodness will shine brighter than ever in the very near future.
May your cargo move as booked to ORD,
may your dock wait times be short in ATL and may the JFK Van Wyck
Expressway be without a backup.
the best to everyone for a very happy holiday and a better new norm
for 2022 and beyond.
Trade Network Consultants LLC
In perfect timing with the season,
my friend Geoffrey asked me whether I had a story for Christmas.
As it happens, in Europe we were recently faced with a “suggestion”
that EU citizens should avoid the word Christmas in favour of more
“inclusive” terminology, e.g. the nonspecific Happy
Holidays. Just after hitting the headlines, the EU Commission’s
suggestion was swiftly withdrawn, as most had observed that when
you try to become “inclusive” at all costs, that is
precisely when you start excluding someone else. The Commission
observed the document was not “mature”.
So here we go . . . Sunday morning
in Turin, it is a sunny winter day, gloriously bright despite the
season. Wednesday’s snow still covers the roofs around my
window and the mountains shine with a yellowish white glare, which
the sun streaked on them at daybreak. This is the period of Advent,
a time I only learned to appreciate when I lived in Zurich, with
its special religious fervour. Years ago this was a time of the
year I actually abhorred.
Respectfully leaving the holy Christmas
to those who believe, this is the period of the year when we exchange
presents and are supposed to be good, if at all possible, even more
virtuous than in other months. I guess the concept of Christmas
has become almost universal in the world, if nothing else because
it generates huge GDP with a massive leap in trade and sales. One
way or another we managed to translate the idea of being good into
the idea of being rich and that is not the same thing. Another aspect
of Christmas time is not precisely good: until Christmas Eve everyone
is nervous, has no time for others and the mad rush to meet deadlines
prevails on kindness, in particular in logistics. When I was a young
forwarder in Turin, this was a tough period indeed.
Working in logistics in Turin in the
seventies, you were swimming in smog and pollution, but also in
goods and trade: FIAT, Lancia cars, Olivetti machines, clothing,
buttons, cables, chemicals, whatever. Above anything else, pens
were filling my daily routines: the now defunct Odino Valperga was
my employer, as well as the forwarder of choice for most pen manufacturers
based in Settimo, one of our fast growing industrial suburbs. Export
was so strong in those years that there was never enough land for
factories and never enough equipment for the goods.
In 1973 Settimo was said to produce
about 65% percent of the entire world production of ballpoint and
felt pens. Several companies were active, which are now gone: FAR,
CIPSA, GENOSO, WALKER PEN, the list was long. We were exporting
millions of pens, my share principally to the UK. Apparently our
writing tools were marketed all over the world from London. I had
invented, with our correspondent Anglo Overseas Transport, the fastest
clearance procedure ever: COW as we called it, i.e. clearance on
wheels. It was a novel approach in the UK, which had just joined
the EEC. T-forms were quickly replacing the TIR carnet, so our service
took wings. That was the key of our success and traffic exploded,
making my overtime pay greater than my salary.
December, when Advent approached I was getting nervous: the fight
for trucks was getting really hard. I needed at least twenty trucks
a week to deliver the groupage loads into the LIFT terminal in eastern
London. We worked 12 hours a day, six days a week and the lines
of trucks to Mont Blanc were legendary. Snow was our biggest enemy,
as climate change was not in sight in those years. The closer Christmas
was approaching, the harder the competition for trucks and the higher
the mountain of pens in the warehouse . . . The files printing stencil
machine was running overtime and our three telexes were working
24/7 to send out “the details”. Getting to the telex
was a physical struggle every Friday afternoon . . . Anyone remembers
this strange object?
Nearly fifty years later, sitting at my
desk in this brilliant Advent day in my home town, which is now
completely different, I remember the raw passion for the exploding
exports, the shouts from the warehouse and the drivers climbing
to the office upstairs to pick up their papers, a coffee and a smile.
In those years working in logistics was quite mad and undisciplined.
If madness is still there, it goes mostly unnoticed, except in the
rollercoaster ride of the freight prices. Trade has grown tremendously
in the meantime, the goods’ dimensions shrank as the packing
got bigger, our services are more complex and refined and many transactions
no longer require manual procedures, but the mad rush of those endless
Advent Friday nights goes on and on in my memory. I wonder whether
the Hanx Writer App could recognise the unforgettable (and incessant)
clickety-clack of the telex machines. If the App can’t I sure
can, believe me!
After 2006 winter Olympics, Turin has become
a reasonably attractive tourist destination and will host the 2022
Eurovision Song Contest. If you want to look at it from down under,
you go. Turin is still mourning its past industrial triumphs though,
as it is trying to deal with the retreat of the car industry that
FIAT imposed on us after over one century of controversial development.
Coffeemakers Lavazza is perhaps the only global corporation in this
area that managed to weather the transition without pain, still
being a principal trader in the world. Very few other businesses
enjoyed a successful transition into this part of history.
Coming back to pens, I was even surprised
to see that CARIOCA
felt pens are still on sale and of course Universal spa, one of
my former clients, is in the historical note of this evergreen brand.
If you open any drawer in my room, pens of all types, colours and
origins materialise: doom or delight? Looking at them I cannot avoid
thinking of the millions I have sent to the UK, in particular at
Christmas. Yesterday’s doom is today’s delight, that’s
There is another link between Christmas
and pens that is worth mentioning. In my third grade my dreams had
come true: my parents and relatives flooded us kids with presents
at Christmas. All had become possible through the increase of wealth
in the country, in particular in Turin, which was on the fast lane
of industrial development in those days.
novel sense of affluence was coming to the families, including ours.
In 1960 young Sorgetti was very proud of his Aurora fountain pen,
received as a gift for Christmas.
Unlike other pens, my Aurora would
not leave stains on my page and it had even a golden cap! I was
on top of the world. The Maharaja of Rewa could not feel more affluent
than I. How would I know then that pens were going to occupy my
later life so abundantly?
When Geoffrey asked me to write this
note in preparation of the festive season I went back to my Christmas
present, the gilded Aurora pen and tried to imagine what remained
today of those childhood emotions. I
knew that Aurora still exists in Turin, so I thought of making contact.
What I did not imagine was that Aurora had become a more complex
business, and is still a thriving enterprise, which successfully
managed to surf the globalization years by doing precisely the opposite
of what others had unsuccessfully tried: they stayed precisely where
they were, banked on their skills and experience, invested heavily
in their core business and strived to be excellent. 24 hours after
sending my message, I received a polite reply from Mr. Cesare Verona,
who runs Aurora today. He is the entrepreneur who managed to steer
his company into modern times, maintain a prestigious brand in Turin,
whilst attracting a cultural, world class, diversified production
around his business.
If you have a quarter of an hour to devote to an unusually cultural
presentation of a business, please watch the well-crafted video
that features Mr. Verona presenting his company’s history,
inside the city of Turin, emerging from a centuries-long transition.
Please appreciate the stamina running through
this great family of entrepreneurs working in a converted abbey,
trying to resurrect it to its former architectural glory after decades
of mistreatment. The patient let the good one work and wait for
the result. In a period when conformism seems to be a duty, this
is an exquisite example that success can come from unsuspected parts.
So we come to the end of this small story:
I am asking myself what does it mean to be good? What does it mean
to behave yet more virtuously because it is Christmas? My take is
that Mr. Verona and the ladies and men working with him just represent
one of the ways.
There are many other ways to be good, perhaps
even more essential. Nurses and doctors who help those in medical
care must be good 24/7, no respite for them who, together with the
caregivers who help the weaker ones of our society, embraced a mission
rather than a job … We have learnt how important that is during
the pandemic, haven’t we? We should fully appreciate their
are also the drivers who make sure our presents are delivered on
time, the staff in the warehouses who sort the parcels, and those
who adorn wonderful shop windows with those gifts for the delight
of their customers. It is impossible to list all the good ones,
they are so many! These people represent the spirit of Christmas
and stretch it to cover the entire year, on and on, without surrendering
to difficulties. In my opinion being good means striving for excellent
results in your work, whatever your call is, with no distinction
of gender, colour, religion, creed, and even political belief.
The rest is our love in the family and
Christmas is the time when our families unite to feel love and affection.
So, my friends, if you know that somebody near you is at risk of
being alone at Christmas, please open your family up to welcome
“thy neighbour”, and treat him or her as you would like
to be treated in return.
Happy holidays! How does that sound?
My best wishes to all of you for the New Year, too.