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Family Aid 2020
   Vol. 21 No. 1
Thursday January 6, 2022

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Brandon Fried

     You might be wondering if an aversion driven by COVID of attending an industry trade show can finally be packed away in your file of forgotten bad dreams?
     Well here are a couple of moments of actuality facing industry trade shows right away on January 17 and February 24, offering a prescient glimpse as to how the near future should pan out for air cargo events during the rest of 2022.
     So far leading indicators offer mixed projections depending on who you talk to.
     Airforwarders Association( AfA) and its intrepid leader Brandon Fried on Jan 17 in New Orleans “is a go, ” we are told, and Air Cargo India slated for February 24 in Mumbai is getting some kick back as COVID rages there.
     So just as organized air cargo events gain traction again, fate steps in on the scene and in some cases may mop up the floor with these best-laid plans.
     The truth be told, no one seems to really know what to do about all this.
     So maybe you can believe your eyes.
     Here in America even as the New Year Ball touched down in Times Square, millions of ordinary people continued queued up in mile-long lines in record numbers coast-to-coast waiting to find out if they are COVID positive.
     No doubt more than a few people in air cargo are wondering about sitting in a session somewhere.
     People we spoke to, by and large, fall into distinct groups.
     Anti-vaxers go one way and the vaccinated, some with masks at half staff walk around like they have some kind of immunity.
     Some people who have had COVID and been lucky enough to get away unscathed, are ready to rip and get to it, in some cases: “been there, done that”.
     People all over the world are antsy to get together.
     Maybe, talking about industry issues can be handled to a certain extent for one or two more rounds by Zoom and other means, but right now people have had it with the isolation and want to press the flesh and congregate.
     But does sick of the lockdowns square with the new proviso that this once-upon-a time adult disease, now includes danger warnings directed toward our children, the same kids that supposedly in 2020 had a remote chance of contracting COVID?
     So now we kiss our significant other goodbye to attend a hotel mixer cocktail party or a trade show awards dinner, risking as a couple of professional U.S. football teams did last week, when everybody on the team took ill, that they unwittingly attended a "Super Spreader Event"?
     So buckle up. Rarely, if ever, will two industry events so early in the year be watched as closely by the air cargo industry as AirCargo 2022 in New Orleans January 17-19 and Air Cargo India February 22-24 Mumbai.
     Happy New Year & Many Happy Landings in 2022!

Meantime Over At Airforwarders Association

     Word up from Brandon Fried, Executive Director-The Airforwarders Association:
     “Excited to be full steam ahead while committed to abiding by #NOLAREADY guidelines for the upcoming #Aircargo2022 conference!”
     Register today:
     On January 17, doors open for Airforwarders Association (AfA) Annual AirCargo Conference in New Orleans.
     Do believe that at some time, even maybe ten minutes after the end of the world, somebody better tell Brandon, who will be probably off somewhere hosting a panel discussion or giving a speech.
     Looking at it all, up and down the line, every journey to adventure should begin in New Orleans. Great food, great vibes, music, plus feeling joy for life like nowhere else that you can be.
Michael Webber     Michael Webber, the airport development expert who attended Tulane University, got married and raised a family in "The Big Easy" said it best:
     “Advice to 'just be sensible' hasn't historically been associated with going to New Orleans, where we used to joke that trade conferences needed an official bail bondsman.
     “But these are different times,” Mike said.
     “Even after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans was still what I've always called ‘the American city least like any other American city.’
     “Being below sea level for centuries has probably provided additional historical iterations of experience with pestilence.
     “I've had my booster and will be in New Orleans,” Mike smiled.
     Believe FlyingTypers can play off of the “Spirit of New Orleans” any time.
     Listen to the music here.

Pan Am Cargo In Cabin
     Pan Am Clipper Cargo, the mightiest air commerce operation in the world in 1961, created a giant Cargo Building #67 at Idlewild International Airport (IDL today’s JFK) to serve Clipper Cargo’s burgeoning global fleet of B-707s.
     It should not be forgotten that Clipper Cargo 67 also delivered the earliest “automated” cargo handling facility in the world with a staggering $8.5 million dollar investment price tag six plus decades ago.
     The action was groundbreaking and excitingly inventive in cargo by a division that marketed itself underneath the “big blue meatball” which is how PAA’s PR counsel Tony Funnell sometimes referred to the airline's logo.
     Once upon a time the blue Pan Am marquee ranked alongside The Coca-Cola Company as the best-known U.S. brands in the world.
     But that’s not all.
     Pan Am Clipper Cargo also developed an ultra-light weight fiberglass passenger cabin container for cargo.
     By removing three rows of passengers seats from the main-decks of several of the carrier's early long-haul B707 jets, Clipper Cargo took a pioneering position of being carried upstairs and downstairs on the early big jets.
     Aircraft payload added a net of 2,400 pounds of “cargo in cabin" to the average of slightly over five tons of cargo that B707s carried in the bellies.
     Yes, peanuts by today's measure, but ‘Cargo In Cabin,’ savior of the world in 2021 was planted acorn to oak in 1961.
     In 1961, four years before the Beatles flew aboard PAA, the airline in its search for improved and flexible methods of pumping traffic, moving people, and making money on a commercial aircraft, carried main deck and belly cargo on the same early jets to and from U.S. hubs to the world.
Pan Am Pampered Pets     As COVID-19 struck and an almost empty, dreary looking Cargo Building #67 was approaching 61 years of service, a barely memorable footnote in the rush of history, who knew or might have imagined or even cared about all of this two years ago outside on ramps, as people were fastening seatbelts around life-saving, main deck cargo on passenger aircraft at airports all over the world?
     Thanks to Martin Bleasdale and Bob Rogers for reminding us . . . everything you need today for ‘Cargo In Cabin’ except the masks!
     Kinda like the early Pet Kennel graphics especially the Dog and Crown.
     Pan Am Clipper Cargo had it going on . . .

chuckles for January 6, 2022

Spirit, Drive And Hopes Alive In 2022 

     Viewed through the looking glass, 2021 will be remembered by the global air cargo community and especially in India as a time when air cargo kept Indian spirits high.
Cyrus Katgara      Toiling hard day and night, air cargo stakeholders did all they could to ensure delivery of medicines, oxygen, vaccines and food. However, there is one thing that most stakeholders would like to forget: rising freight costs. And, that does not seem to be going away.
     Cyrus Katgara, (left) President-Air Cargo Forum India (ACFI is an association of various stakeholders of Air Cargo Logistic Supply Chain Trade and Industry that supports and promotes the development of the air cargo logistics industry in India) and Partner at Jeena & Company, an authorized Customs House Agent, told FlyingTypers:
     “The key story for higher freight rates is the significant congestion on supply chains.
     “Strong demand for goods, combined with COVID control measures, have disrupted production at manufacturers.”

Tight Capacity Dwell From Hell

     “As there is not enough capacity for shipments on most modes of transport, this translates into long delivery times, delays along with unusually higher freight rates.”
     The National Cargo Policy 2019, in fact, had noted that the air cargo industry faced challenges with high dwell times, congested cargo terminals, sub-optimal use of belly cargo capacity, missing/damaged non-traceable cargo, and manual processing.
Yashpal Sharma     Those thoughts are shared by Yashpal Sharma, (right) Managing Director, Skyways Group, a well-known and respected airfreight forwarder:
     “Globally, pre-pandemic over 50% of freight used to move on passenger aircraft.
     “As the world shut down last year and almost 85% pax flights got grounded, the air cargo capacity went too.
     “Though a lot of passenger flights are back and there is an increase in cargo-only aircraft (freighters), the total air cargo capacity is still about 15-20% less than pre-pandemic times.
     “There is also a huge surge in sea-to-air conversions due the disruption in sea freight around the world. Both of these factors have led to a much bigger imbalance between demand and supply.”
     Tackling the high costs, while keeping the business afloat is the top priority for the aforementioned Cyrus Katgara and other freight forwarders.

Delivery Versus Non Delivery

     “We are advising our customers to use more air freight, as air speed is faster though more expensive than ocean freight options,” said Katgara.
     “But since the price of ocean shipping is at an all-time high, air freight may currently be a more viable shipping option for businesses. Apparel retailers like Levi Strauss and Tommy Hilfiger are choosing air freight to mitigate their costs, even though you may not save too much money with this shipping method, your inventory is guaranteed to reach its destination much sooner, which means you can deliver to your customers faster.”

Doing Business Easier

     As President of ACFI, Katgara said that he was in touch with the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and other stakeholders to further boost ‘Ease of doing business' and create the necessary 'infrastructure for handling and storage of cargo' at Indian airports.
     These moves, he highlighted, would be “the main pillars in our journey towards making Indian airports prime transshipment hubs.
     “These transshipment hubs will result in increased capacity and, thereby, help to keep freight rates in check.”

Charters On Mind

     Yashpal Sharma and his company have found an option. He mentioned that, “Skyways has been regularly operating charters for our customers to bridge the supply shortfall. We have operated over 100 charters since April 2021.”
     He sees another two years approximately for “freight rates to come close to pre-pandemic levels. The disruptions in air and ocean capacities will take at least 9-12 months to get sorted out and subsequently freight rates will start to soften,” he added.

Always About Infrastructure

     Apart from high freights rates, India’s air cargo industry will have to face insufficient infrastructure, complicated exim procedures, technology, and lack of trained personnel. Industry veterans also highlighted another major hurdle: the “Open Sky Policy” for cargo in India.
     A parliamentary panel had pointed some time ago that as a result of the policy, foreign airlines carried 90-95 percent of the total international cargo to and from India, even as Indian carriers faced hurdles when flying to other countries. The parliamentary committee had advised that a level playing field be created for Indian operators.

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QR Cargo CEIV Animal Certification

     International Air Transport Association (IATA) CEIV Live Animals Certifies It!
     QR does it again, becoming the first airline in the Middle East to receive CEIV Live Animals certification by IATA, announced Wednesday January 6, reportedly after six months of rigorous process and product audits.
     QR passed with flying colors becoming only one of four carriers on the planet to earn the IATA CEIV Live Animal badge of approval.
    “This certification is testament to the dedication and detail that we put into transporting the many different live animals that are placed in our custody,” Guillaume Halleux, Chief Officer Cargo at Qatar Airways declared.
    “Whether they are horses, household pets, livestock, or exotic animals transported on our scheduled and charter flights or wild animals being flown under our WeQare Rewild the Planet initiative, we go beyond the required regulatory standards, to ensure that the animals are given the utmost care and comfort for the entire duration of the journey.”
     This time last year, Qatar Airways Cargo was also recognized as IATA CEIV Pharma certified, having demonstrated its compliance with the industry-leading practices in the booking, acceptance, handling, and transportation of pharmaceutical products.
    QR Cargo said that as 2022 gets underway, it has IATA CEIV Fresh square up in its sights for approval next.

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Airport Congestion Study Moves Forward

  While most of the conversation lately has centered on what the world, of airlines, forwarders and other players in air cargo, will look like going forward, here are some thoughts from Dan Muscatello, an expert in airport Cargo and Logistics strategy and planning. Dan brings an impressive portfolio of more than 40 years of experience, in both the public and private sectors. He has been a development strategist for both the business and physical facility planning of air cargo complexes, and the integration of ancillary and supporting logistics services.
  So here as we are in the throes of the COVID-19 global challenge, “Dan, the airport cargo man” plain talks from an air cargo perspective some questions and answers confronting airports and airlines looking for happy landings financially and strategically.

Van Wyck Expressway and Grand Central Parkway

As we move into 2022 (although with somewhat less enthusiasm than we anticipated six months ago), the air cargo industry continues to be a financial mainstay of aviation for airports, carriers, and virtually all of the ancillary and supporting stakeholders that make up this key element of the logistics chain. However, the challenges that faced the industry two years ago, continue to threaten the cost effectiveness and efficiency of cargo throughput on airports, and to logistics operations in general.
  Working with the AirForwarders Association on their Congestion Study, we identified five elements that the industry must address:

           Facilities and Infrastructure
           Technology and Communications
           Service Standards
           Regulations and Policy

  The key thing to recognize is that there is clear overlap among these elements and the facilities and operations of the industry stakeholders. Teams are forming to address the issues and opportunities that each element represents and formulate potential solutions that can be applicable on both and industry-wide and airport specific basis. Volunteers are always welcome to assist and provide input.
  On a broader level, there are a number of things to consider for 2022.

  1.  The growth of e-commerce has heavily impacted the trucking elements of air cargo. The challenges will continue to grow as we deal with driver shortages, shifting routes due to decentralization, changes to regional rates, on airport facilities and infrastructure, airport access, the need for support facilities, and the effect on cross border traffic.
  2.  Mainland China is focusing on the development of logistics hubs that will have massive air and rail capabilities. These will compete heavily with Hong Kong suggesting potential changes in international routing with a greater emphasis on freighters rather than belly cargo, China is also growing the “silk road” rail connection to the Middle East and Europe. These changes and growing political tensions, raise the questions as to how international traffic will be impacted and what effect will the changes have on U.S. gateways?
  3.  There are no indications that the staffing shortages and resultant delays that continue to plague major North American ports will ease in the near-term.   Further, the increasing cost of ocean shipping has dramatically reduced the differential between sea and air. It remains to be seen if these changes will remain and if so, what the long-term effects on air shipments are and how they will need to be addressed.
  4.  Despite the positive elements of cargo growth, the question remains - Can physically constrained airports handle the anticipated volume increases, and if so, how? If not, what are the alternatives, and how can airports/regions prepare?
  5.  Given the revenue short falls at airports (and airlines), and the growing need to modernize cargo facilities and infrastructure, 3rd party development becomes a desirable option to pursue. The traditional RFP process is costly (response to a larger development can easily exceed a million dollars), lengthy, frequently ill-defined and unrealistic, and as a result increasingly discouraging to developers. Are there alternatives that an airport, as a public agency, can pursue that will grow public-private partnerships, without sacrificing accountability? Are there public policies and guidelines that can be modified to facilitate public partnerships?
  We are getting to the point where the future of air cargo will require not merely doing things differently, but rather doing different things!
Dan Muscatello

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Vol. 20 No. 50
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Publisher-Geoffrey Arend • Managing Editor-Flossie Arend • Editor Emeritus-Richard Malkin
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