Releasing United Cargo’s untapped potential

It is a transformational time at United Cargo – with the merger process in full swing and a new cargo boss injecting fresh perspective – and with this process comes the unparalleled opportunity to unleash what the new president of United’s cargo division, Jan Krems, sees as the vast untapped potential of ‘volcanic’ proportions. By Donald Urquhart.


Releasing United Cargo’s untapped potential


After a combined 27 years at AFKLM- Martinair, which is now in the throws of deciding what to do with its maindeck business, Jan Krems may be counting his blessings that he made leap across the ‘pond’ from the Franco-Dutch carrier to the recently merged American giant.

But aside from the potentially shrinking proportions of his former carrier, it was a very logical move for both Krems and United. With the top cargo job at United rather unexpectantly vacated by Robbie Anderson who had been in the job since 2010, Krems had the opportunity to apply years of experience to help craft the new United Cargo offspring that is emerging from the combined cargo units of the former United Airlines and Continental Airlines.

From United’s perspective it’s surely all good. Krems with 27 years of experience in a number of leadership positions spanning Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia and most recently as VP for Americas at AF-KLM-Martinair, brings in-depth global experience and certainly equally important, his invaluable experience as the ‘lead integrator’ of the cargo businesses of Air France and KLM-Martinair when they merged nearly a decade ago.

On his change of job, Krems notes that it’s still too early to make a clear distinction between the two companies’ cultures, separated physically by the vast Atlantic and culturally one would assume, by an equally great chasm.