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   Vol. 23 No. 22

Monday May 6, 2024


Kale Clear View Americas Ad

Amar More

     “Looking forward to insightful encounters toward advancing digitization in air cargo at International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) South American Office in Lima, Peru today March 6 at 15:45”, Amar More, President of Kale Logistics Solutions said.
     Mr. More continues what is shaping up to be a dedicated imaginative outreach in keeping at his quest toward transformation of the global logistics industry.
     Today, Kale Logistics Solutions is the global thought leader with a vertical SaaS platform offering a suite of outstanding software solutions for a wide network of logistics service providers to help strengthen and improve their operational as well as business capabilities.
     At ICAO, Amar will be a key speaker in a panel discussion and will share insights towards the digitalization of cargo operations and the benefits derived from its implementation.
     “The region is ready for embracing technology for a more efficient, sustainable, and secure air cargo operations.
     “We are proud to be working with the industry in South America in this journey of digitization for air cargo.
     “Over the past few years, the emphasis the world over is on employing sustainable practices.
     “To subdue the excessive use of paper documents, digitizing air cargo operations are seen as the best-fit solution.
     “Well, digitization doesn’t mean operating with an enterprise solution as it would refrain digital activities to a Ground Handler/Freight Forwarder/Customs Broker etc.
     “We prefer an Airport Cargo Community System (ACS) that can reduce manual documentation heavily and automate processes on a micro/macro level.
The Kale Airport Cargo Community System ensures sustainable practices by enabling practices to adhere to sustainability guidelines.
     “ACS is a web based electronic collaborative platform to streamline and map the entire air freight process flow. It simplifies and modernizes operations by improving communication between ground handlers, freight forwarders, customs brokers and others with airport authority, customs, other government agencies, regulators etc.
     “All communication takes place online through a common EDI platform which is in line with regulatory guidelines.”
     More is a true agent for change. Kale revolutionized handling of cargo via North America’s first ACS at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport ; is facilitating over 20% rise in cargo handling with its ACS at Bangalore International Airport Ltd , has cut what was seven million copies of physical documents at Mumbai International Airport Limited (CSMIA) Airport, the list goes on.
     One thing is clear the power of Kale Logistics impact on speeding up the art of logistics is felt worldwide as 2024 continues.

chuckles for May 6, 2024

Yasmene Abdel, Andrea Lanouette, John Wu, Keysha Dampeer, Sherri Dunlap, Ernie Schimmer, John Boyd and John Sina

     Los Angeles Air Cargo Association (LAACA) Air Cargo Day at the Proud Bird Grand Ballroom just off the main runways takes off next Thursday May 9.
     Doors open at 1100.
     The air cargo event of the year at LAX goes until 15:00 and is free!
     There is an atmosphere driven by a truly open and relaxed event for networking, featuring booth giveaways, raffles and prizes.
     We love that The Proud Bird venue was inspired in 1967 by Continental Airlines marketing slogan, “The Proud Bird with the Golden Tail.”
     Make no mistake plane-spotting is the great spectator sport at The Proud Bird!
     The sight thrill since David Tallichet opened this place, is watching aircraft swoop onto LAX runway making you feel like you a are part of the action, close enough to these massive machines to vicariously be part of the arrival.
     There are displays and aircraft at The Proud Bird including an F4U Corsair carrier- based fighter aircraft from WWII.
     What seems to be missing is Flying Tigers Line that took off with surplus DC3s and C48s during WWII in 1945 at LAX, with Bob Prescott at the helm and some others who gained fame as Flying Tigers “China India Burma Hump” cargo transport pilots.
     Post war Flying Tiger Line built and dominated LAX air cargo eventually from their location on World Way West until carrier was acquired in 1989 by FedEx.
LAACA was founded in 1965 by John Boyd who worked for American Airlines Cargo and John Sina (Lufthansa) and Regis Kramer, (International Customs Service).
     Circa 1960s the LAACA election for President was held in a back room behind the bar in the old Hyatt Hotel on the corner of Aviation Blvd and Century Blvd (not there any longer).
     John Boyd, it is said, set the standard for being the President at LAACA.
     As LAACA approaches 60 years of service in 2025, here too is a special shoutout and deep thanks for today to Michael Yu (Alaska Air) LAACA Chairman of the Board, Keysha Dampeer, (Airspace) LAACA President, Andrea Lanouette (Avalon Risk Management,) LAACA 1st Vice President, Board Member since 2013, Sherri Dunlap (FIND Food Bank) LAACA Treasurer since 2009, Board Member since 2005, and Yasmine Abdel (Tax Airfreight) Board Member since 2016.
     For me, at LAX Cargo nothing is forgotten.
     The last original airport building, the 1929 Hangar 1 in the cargo area operated by DHL looks in 2024 like a scene out of “Casablanca”.
     All of it at LAX as Anne Morrow Lindbergh sat in the back seat of her husband’s airplane and then wrote:  "Listen! The Wind."

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Bella Donna—A Thoughtful Tally For Kale

     “The air cargo price fixing saga of 2005 was a-gas. A mellifluous malodorous episode in the history of air cargo.”

Bruce McCaffrey     A story without a happy ending is recalled in 2024 as we mark ten years since Bruce McCaffrey died February 25, 2014 at age 71 in Bradenton, Florida, from complications of renal failure.
     Bruce worked at Qantas Freight for 26 years and was among the first people to be caught up and convicted in the air cargo price fix scandals that began in. 2005.
     Last time I saw him he was awaiting the start of a six-month sentence, but since he had recently had a kidney transplant, the feds were giving him time to recover.
     Bruce McCaffrey attended Harvard Business School and the UCLA Executive Program in Business, and, like many of us 70-somethings who love America, was a fellow veteran who also served during the Vietnam War as a U.S. Army helicopter pilot and infantry officer.
     After the war he joined National Airlines, then Pan American, and then Qantas Freight USA, where he served for 26 years as Vice President of Freight for North and South America.

Bruce Was A Straight Arrow

      I knew Bruce when he was out in Valley Stream (a community near JFK International) after he had succeeded Gil Philaba—and later George Stark—as boss of Qantas Cargo USA.
     He was always by the book and although a bit distant, he radiated interest in airline history; like me, and as mentioned was a veteran of Vietnam, so we always found some talking points aside from business.
     I also knew him when Qantas threw him under the bus.
     The story of my final meeting with Bruce occurred one night close to Christmas 2008, inside the Oyster Bar at Grand Central Station in Manhattan.
     Bruce looked like hell at 160 pounds, his body evidence to two potentially devastating life events.
     One was recovery from a kidney transplant, and the second was jail time as he was amongst the first of the airline executives caught up in the price fix scandal.

Events Unfolded Quickly

      Bruce told me about the day when law enforcement swooped into his offices at Qantas Freight Los Angeles to gather up information, paperwork, and computers in 2006.
     He also remembered the day he fielded a call from his bosses at the cargo facility ordering him to report to Qantas headquarters.
     Upon arrival, a human resources employee flown in from headquarters abruptly told him that his job at Qantas was over “based on performance.”
     When Bruce argued that his performance reviews were always deemed “excellent” and that he led Qantas Freight USA from 15 percent of total airline air cargo throughput to 25 percent during his tenure, and that during his watch he had delivered budget numbers 24 out of 26 years (one year his numbers fell was 2001, marked by the 9/11 tragedy), the HR type simply said:
     “Actually, we don’t have to give you a reason.”

Bruce McCaffrey, Qantas LAX building

Reason Apparent

     The “reason” became apparent when Qantas went public the next day with the admission of price fixing, and agreed to pay a fine and jettison Bruce McCaffrey.
     “Maybe I should have seen this coming,” Bruce said when we spoke.
     “Qantas management called me six months before I was terminated and offered me a buyout, but I refused.
     “I guess when you look at the landscape of executives in air cargo that are now taking the package and getting out, I should have gotten out then too.
     “I just thought everything would be OK, even with the ongoing investigations, and I thought that Qantas would handle all the price fixing allegations.
     “I went about my business as usual, reporting everything happening in my freight department to my superiors just as before.”

Bruce As A Fall Guy

     Bruce McCaffrey was the first fall guy for a giant international investigation (witch hunt); at the time, the U.S. DOJ was reportedly looking to convict some Qantas people headquartered in Australia when they realized they could not be extradited to the USA.
     Testimony from two Qantas Freight employees that was obtained by DOJ turned out to be, in truth, nothing more than the word of a couple of low-level types who were promised immunity.
     Bruce, DOJ was told, had issued instructions to secure information concerning rates from competitor airlines.

Going It Alone No Option

     As the charges stacked up in front of him, Bruce learned that in order to defend himself against an international law enforcement frenzy, he would have to put up all he had and more.
     Bruce McCaffrey faced the demand of raising an impossible half million dollars, the kind of money airline people just don’t have, to defend himself with no guarantee of success.
     Qantas refused to help or support him in any way, other than to say if he fought the case “and won that they would share in his legal fees.”
     If he fought the case and lost he faced financial annihilation, fines of one million dollars or more, and a possible sentence of ten years in jail.
     So Bruce McCaffrey, in total survival mode, agreed to cooperate with law enforcement, serve time, and pay a fine.
Geoffrey Arend, Bruce McCaffrey     For Bruce McCaffrey, 2006 was the year that was.
     Fast forward to 2008.
     There he sat, all 160 emaciated pounds, behind a cup of coffee in the Oyster Bar.
     Bruce exited the industry—his entire life—in some manner of disgrace, while most of the people around him at Qantas got off scot-free.
     “I just spoke to investigators from Canada this afternoon,” Bruce ventured as we sat in the Oyster.
     “Recently I was interviewed by investigators from New Zealand.
     “As often as I am approached now, I cooperate because of the offer of immunity.
     “Investigators want to know about the business of air cargo,” Bruce McCaffrey said.
     What Bruce did not say is what was most apparent.
     Ongoing interviews, by a widening group of law enforcement characters from an expanding list of countries, served as primers on air cargo for the prosecutors at home and abroad, who among other things were looking to make a reputation by descending upon our industry like a school of blood-thirsty sharks.

Impressions of Bruce

     As he spoke to us that last time in 2008, we recalled visiting Bruce in Los Angeles in 2005 at Qantas Freight.
     Although at that point, fully on the job, his health had already declined after a mild stroke.
     But Bruce loved what he did and was always proud to work for and deliver on budget for Qantas Freight.
Bruce McCaffrey     I remember we exchanged memorabilia and did a story on Bruce.
     We felt lucky to have that opportunity because at that point, even after 23 years at Qantas, he almost never appeared in air cargo media at all.
     We suggested a trip down under, but Bruce, who checked everything with the home office, could not get us a bump up to Business Class and the trip idea fizzled when I thought of 14 hours with my chin to my knees. Later, when we thought about it, after the price fixing scandal hit, how could someone who had to check for an upgrade, mastermind something as vast as the price-fixing scheme. Ridiculous!
     When word came that Bruce McCaffrey, the straight arrow guy I had known for many years, was in a price fixing beef with the U.S. DOJ, my first reaction was disbelief.
     To this day we still believe he was overwhelmed by forces at work in a shameful episode in air cargo history.
     Now that he is gone, we can only marvel at the spirit and determination that Bruce—a guy who once lived for air cargo—gave to air cargo.
     Somehow he managed to live another six years after losing almost everything, except his determination to not back down.
     “I never made a major decision that was not checked with headquarters.
     “I’ll be dammed if I will allow these charges against me to determine my life,” Bruce told me.
     And he never did.

A Postscript
     Bruce McCaffrey was one of the 21 or so executives who were under fire during theprice fixing scandal that resulted in the airlines being fined, something to the tune of USD$1.7 billion (some of those fines were overturned as late as 2022) with some executives being given jail time of various lengths.
     Now you can say Bruce is/was a felon, who got caught up in the air cargo scandal during that era.
     You can also say that a gang of overzealous U.S. Government lawyers out to make a career reputation, swooped down on air cargo and picked off tons of money and people, like shooting fish in a barrel.
     Lufthansa, it should be mentioned, blew the whistle on everybody with the U.S. Government at the onset in 2005.
     I think everybody was hurt and the cargo people who were charged, served time and came back into the business, and I can think of three or four people I know that did and are still working, the view from 2024 is that there should be some room for the benefit of the doubt and better understanding as to where the fault for all of this lies.
     The story of Bruce McCaffrey, ten years later, tells us that to brand any of them as no good or not worthy to be air cargo leaders in 2024 is insensitive and simply wrong.
     Lest, we forget.


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