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   Vol. 22 No. 24
Monday July 24, 2023
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Polar vs CoD

     In that ongoing kerfuffle between forwarder Cargo On Demand (CoD) and Polar Air Cargo, a New York Judge named Jessie Furman threw the case out July 11th, ruling in favor of Polar Air Cargo, saying "the complaint appears to rely on a theory that Polar [Air Cargo] is vicariously liable for the acts of its executives.” The Judge also granted CoD a last chance to appeal his decision, which becomes final on August 11, 2023.
     Located in College Point, New York CoD, a long-time customer of Polar, had claimed it lost USD$4million through fraud and racketeering at the cargo airline.
     As we go to press, CoD could not be reached for comment.
     Interestingly, a second fraud and racketeering suit following a separate indictment filed on March 13, 2023, against some of Polar’s current and former executives is still pending at the same court with the same Judge.
     The U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of New York said that ten suspects face felony charges including wire fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering in connection with allegations of long-standing fraud and racketeering at Polar Air Cargo that had cost the airline an estimated USD$52 million in lost revenue.
     Reminds us of the year Casey Stengel moved from winning the World Baseball Championships five years in a row for the New York Yankees to becoming the first man to manage the cross-town rivals The New York Mets, and the team managed to lose a record number of games.
     Casey, in a locker room “Pep Talk” exclaimed:
     “Doesn’t anybody here know how to play this game?”
     Stay tuned . . .

chuckles for July 24, 2023

Buffalo 737 Freighter

     “We join a very small group of companies (in modern times) that can say they’ve flown DC-3s and 737s,” Mikey McBryan General Manager Buffalo Airways told Yellowknife Northwest Territories-based radio station Cabin Radio as a Buffalo Airways Boeing 737, the first jet aircraft in the NWT airline’s 50-year history successfully completed a long-awaited 80 minute test flight last week in Europe.
     Hay River-based Buffalo acquired the 737-300SF last year, saying the purchase was necessary because existing freight connections into the NWT cannot keep up with next-day demand. Freight carried by Buffalo mostly arrives in the Northwest Territories by truck. Cargo is then loaded onto the airline’s DC-3 and C-46 aircraft, some of them approaching 80 years old, for onward travel to the territory’s smaller communities. In 2022, Buffalo said its 737 would replace much of the airline’s reliance on trucks to get freight into its network. The likes of DC-3s will still be used to cover the final journeys into smaller NWT communities, not least because the 737 is not equipped to handle gravel airstrips, Cabin Radio said.
Greg Perdue, Len Williams and Sandy Macpherson      The aircraft has been undergoing refurbishment work and checks in Bournemouth, England since last year’s purchase.
     In terms of the B737 in service, Mikey said:
     “Now things will happen quick,” he smiled.
     It is thought a hook up for enhanced services and partnerships in addition to their regular runs are part of the plan moving ahead.
     Last year a team (pictured here) from Buffalo Air Cargo appeared at The International Air Cargo Association TIACA ACF Miami getting ready for the Buffalo B737F launch.
     Looks like the epoch tale has no limit or equal for this company adventure often viewed on the Ice Pilots series on TV's Weather Channel.
     Meantime as usual Buffalo Airways guiding spirit Joe McBryan took off in an all -cargo DC-3 for another milk run into tiny communities in Canada as the jubilant Boeing soared up into a limitless summer sky.
     Nice going and keep 'em flying Buffalo Cargo!

FlyingTalkers podcast



First Half Post Covid Challenging

Hema Tanna

Mumbai-based Hema Tanna, Director, Manilal Patel Clearing Forwarding Pvt Ltd, was meant to move to the travel industry but there was something about cargo that attracted her so much that she joined the logistics company that her grandfather had started. That was way back in 1998. Today, with more than two decades in the air freight and ocean freight forwarding industry, Hema Tanna is considered a ‘hands on’ person with complete knowledge of the industry processes. Her guiding spirit has been her father, who unfortunately passed away when she was very young. She remembers his words to keep focusing on the business and the people who work with her.

FT:  How would you see 2023 shaping up – air cargo-wise from India. Do you see difficult times ahead?
HT: The year 2023 will essentially not be an easy year. It will be more about finding stability and a balance as the last two years have virtually turned the air cargo business topsy-turvy and it is on its head in terms of freight rates, capacities, never before heard of Preighters, work-from-home concept, and so on.

FT:  What is the kind of business you have done over the past year.
HT: Last year has, by far, been the highlight for most Freight Forwarders. Business has never seen such growth in numbers, particularly in the Pharma and Medical sector. The pandemic hugely influenced never before movements such as PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) kits, medicine, vaccines etc. It was one of our best years.

FT:  Which are the companies that have entrusted you with their business and why do they want to keep on working with you?
HT: Most of our customers were pleasantly surprised how we rose to the situation in the dire circumstances when airports and sea ports were locked down. Regardless, we were able to provide them with our services except during the initial three weeks when the pandemic first hit us. They value our relationship and have appreciated the fact that we stood by them during these critical times.

FT:  Were there some extraordinary deals that you did in the past year?
HT: I am not sure what you mean by deals but something that we had to “deal with” in a rather difficult way once Covid eased off, was the challenge of meeting customer demands of delivering their orders – this required a systematic shift from ocean to air which was not an easy task, particularly with the limited capacities available during that period. One read that certain companies were invoking the Force Majeur clause in their contracts but for MSME companies like us that became a challenge as going ahead we had to maintain long-term relationships with our customers. Win some, lose some unfortunately in such cases . . .

FT:  How have you changed the way business is done?
HT: Not only us, but most businesses have experienced a sea change in their day to day working. The work-from-home being one the most novel concepts – we still have few employees who WFH and this works for us in the sense that our international desks function more efficiently due to time differences. Another welcome business change was “automation” – customers who required hard copies of virtually every document have now started accepting online documents by soft copies saving manpower and unnecessary printing of paper.

FT:  How do you feel about your work and achievements in logistics?
HT: Very satisfying indeed! The changes which our industry has seen in the last two years and the way that our business models adapted to the new normal were an amazing eye-opener in terms of how fast our industry could change and adapt to changing times and 'need of the hour' situations. Ultimately, it’s all about mindsets.

FT:  As a woman, what are the new perspectives that you have brought in?
HT: Sustainable logistics is undoubtedly going to be the future of our industry. Many of our customers have pledged to decrease carbon footprints with each shipment and in fact we are working towards providing an automated calculation of Co2 emissions for our customers on our website the moment they enter their shipment details. We are taking the issue of Co2 emissions very seriously in our organization. We are taking every small step like investing in EV handling equipment such as forklifts, switching to EV cars, solar panel energy for our warehouses, plus every little thing like switching off air conditioning and reducing lights during lunch hour, using the stairs so on and so forth.

FT:  How have you coped with the ability of the air cargo community to understand the breadth of change in world trade and commerce?
HT: As I mentioned, our industry was one of the fastest movers in terms of adapting to our changing business. Many other businesses simply did not pick up pace but logistics, I think, was there for the asking – goods had to move, food had to be on the table, medicines had to be made available, energy supplies had to be uninterrupted – we as forwarders have always taken pride in the fact that we can adapt to any and everything thrown at us and come out winning – that’s one more feather in our caps!

FT:  As a family business, how are you taking forward the family’s legacy?
HT: Yes, ours is a family business and is, perhaps, one of the older logistics companies as we celebrate over 75 years of dedicated service to our customers. The company was started by my grandfather and thereafter looked after by my father and now my brother and me. Our success has been that we have come to the forefront with our customer demands and delivered to their expectations. Integrity and selfless service is the basis on which we have survived for so many years.

FT:  How strongly do you feel would the future logistics workforce accelerate gender equality, create special roles, and give opportunities to more women?
HT: From where I sit I do not see any gender inequality – in fact I love what I do and promote women in logistics as and when I get the opportunity to do so. Logistics is not only a “men only” business as far as I am concerned and neither have I felt threatened by any gender bias during my years of service in the industry.

India Post Covid Slowdown

     Just as the Indian air cargo sector thought to reach pre-Covid level tonnages, the market sent back a reality check that U.S. and Europe exports have been heading south ever since Covid ended.
     Airports Authority of India (AAI) data points out that international air freight in the financial year that ended in March 2023 fell 5% to 1.9 million MT.
     For FY24, international freight AAI said is expected at 317,589 MT, or 1.2% lower than a year ago. This despite the fact that the total air cargo volume in FY 22 was 3.14 million tons compared to 2.5 million tons in 2021, 25+% YoY growth. Of the 3.14 million tons, 1.96 million tons was international and 1.18 million tons domestic.
     India has a few FTAs going – the most prominent among them is the one with UAE. But exports declined by 22% to USD 32.97 billion in June, the steepest monthly fall in three years.
     Inbound shipments during the month went down by a steep 17.48 per cent to USD 53.10 billion.
     During the pandemic and soon afterwards, freight rates shot up: around $9-10 per kg. Now as you read this air freight rates are around $2.50 a kg.
     Sources say that the rates are now, lower than pre-Covid level rates.
     To make matters worse India, export of textiles, pharmaceuticals, automotive components and handicrafts – all high-volume cargo – are down.
     Now also has come the imposition of a Goods and Services Tax (GST).
     In October 2022 18% Goods and Services Tax (GST) was imposed. Till September last year, the air cargo sector was exempt from paying GST. Sources said that India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation had approached the Ministry of Finance to reconsider the taxation rate for air freight.
     However, no decision has been taken.
     According to air cargo industry sources, the 5% GST on sea freight and 18 % on air freight is now making Indian goods very expensive in the world market.
     An exporter pointed out that while GST is refunded to the exporter, the total amount can take 2-4 months and that impacts trade.
     The imposition of GST has had an impact on India’s freighter operators.

Afzal Malbarwala, Sunil Arora, J. Krishnan

     Readers might remember that low-cost carrier SpiceJet had enhanced its logistics arm SpiceXpress even as the top low-cost carrier IndiGo had announced that it was going to induct four freighters to its fleet. SpiceJet has whittled down its cargo fleet to three from the 16-18 freighters it was using during Covid.
     As for IndiGo, it is yet to announce expansion in cargo capacity. Newcomer Pradhan Air was all set to add a second freighter at the end of last year but continues plying its single freighter.
     Reacting to the imposition of GST, Afzal Malbarwala, President of ACAAI (the apex body of air cargo agents in India), pointed out that the move had affected exporters’ business. Cash flow has been the biggest hurdle. He mentioned that almost every exporter had to make investments after Covid because importers were demanding for credit to keep their businesses rolling and compete with other countries. He also said that the Indian government wanted to promote exports but now with the imposition of GST, it will be tough going.
     Former President of ACAAI and now a prominent member of ACAAI’s Board of Advisors, J Krishnan said that internationally, all export-related charges were zero-rated except in India. In addition, along with logistics costs, this will deletriously impact the freight forwarders.
     Sunil Arora, also from ACAAI’s Board of Advisors, said that GST would nullify all initiatives taken by the government like the ‘Make in India’ plan or even the ease of doing business. He emphasized that GST on export freight would make our export commodities anti-competitive in the world market.
Tirthankar Ghosh

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Tony Bennett

     The thing about Tony Bennett the great popular singer who died Friday July 21st at 96, was he brought along a generation of younger performers—accompanying them, doing appearances and recording with them to preserve the music of Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin and other writers of the 1920s, 30s, 40s right up to the present.
     The accolades will undoubtedly come from everywhere but know this, I knew Tony and he was the real deal and a damn good guy to boot.
     Tony lived in the Claridge's on 55th Street in a big sprawling pre-war apartment overlooking Radio City Music Hall. I first saw him in his home with my friend Al 'Jazzbo' Collins the all-night man on WNEW-AM Radio in New York.
     Jazzbo, prior to his stint in New York, had been a top DJ in San Francisco.
     I met Jazzbo, when he was at WNEW and I was working on reviving the music of a 30s band called Hal Kemp.
     Tony Bennett, the singer was also a painter named Anthony Dominick Benedetto, so when he called Jazzbo and asked to see him, I happened to be there. We jumped into my Kharmann Ghia and were off to Claridge’s.
     Tony, it turns out way back when Jazzbo was on the air at KSFO 560 AM in San Francisco, never forgot how Jazz flogged his “I Left My Heart In San Francisco” which turned out to be Tony’s signature tune for the rest of his life.
     As part of his bucket list of things to do for Jazzbo, Tony did an oil painting picturing Al Collins sitting in “The Purple Grotto” a fantasy location that came to life every evening several stories below the streets of 42nd and 3rd Avenue where WNEW Radio and the Horn & Hardart Automat Restaurant were located.
     Tony had the painting on a stretcher sitting on an easel, waiting for Jazzbo.      Through the windows of his apartment I could see the marquee of Radio City flashing away below, a sight I have never forgotten.
     I had come along as the wheel guy thinking that Tony, who grew up in Astoria, near where LaGuardia Airport is, might like a copy of the book I wrote to save The Marine Air Terminal, so I brought It along to give to him.
     He graciously accepted the copy and the memory of how genuine and nice a guy Tony Bennett was, has always remained with me.
     I had known of Tony Bennett since the 1950s when his pop tune “Rags to Riches” made him famous. Later my favorite all time was/is “I Want To Be Around”.
     As we departed 55th Street and headed downtown back to our apartment in Greenwich Village with the painting sticking partially outside the Ghia’s rear window, Jazzbo smiled and said about Tony:
     “He is a real human being.”
     Now that all these people are gone, I’m glad I was around to share this story.

If You Missed Any Of The Previous 3 Issues Of FlyingTypers
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Vol. 22 No. 21
Sean McCool With The Angels Now
Vol. 22 No. 22

Trifecta For Change
Chuckles for June 26, 2023
Ahead To FIATA World Congress
Mahindra Logistics Lands In Dubai
Me & Jane On A Plane
Remembering Gordon Lightfoot

Vol. 22 No. 23

Predict The Future
By Creating It

Chuckles for July 13, 2023
IndiGlo For IndiGo CarGo
Sky High Delhi Vaz
Hey Friend Do It Again
Paris Air Show Happy Returns

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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