The Payload interview

He was once introduced to an American journalist by a prominent industry executive as the ‘Pope of cargo’, to which Payload Asia co-founder, publisher, editor, salesman and general industry provocateur replied: “Slowly, slowly. I’m not Holy…yet.” Donald Urquhart finds out how the magazine came into being.


air cargo magazine Cargonews Asia newsletter Nol van Fenema Payload Asia


For those who know Nol van Fenema and really, after nearly 26 years in the air cargo industry there aren’t many who don’t know him, this is classic Nol. Confident, yet not entirely overbearing with that ever-present, quick, dry wit with only an occasional hint of sarcasm, the Dutchman has endeared himself to an industry which he came to in 1983 bereft of any substantive cargo knowledge.

goes back half a dozen years, first bumping into him at various press conferences when I was working as a newspaper journalist in Singapore and then over the last couple of years when I was hired to replace him as editor of Payload Asia, I knew this was not going to be a normal interview.

A bottle of Chardonnay, some lessons in magazine printing and air cargo history and enough amusing anecdotes to fill a book later, I had my interview. Now all I had to do was compress the substantive, yet barely surface scratching summation of 25 years of the industry into a couple of Payload Asia pages.

The first clue that this was not going to be a standard interview came when I called Nol to arrange it. While I can’t print exactly the words he used, suffice to say he was ‘surprised’ it was 25 years since he made his foray into the air cargopublishing world.