Confronting fear: The industry grapples with change

A word not often discussed at air cargo conferences around the world – fear – took centre stage recently at the Air Cargo Handling Conference in Bangkok. “There’s too much fear in our industry now,” said Saudia Airlines Cargo, VP operations, Chris Notter in partial explanation as to why the industry is grappling so desperately with change. Donald Urquhart reports from Bangkok.

There is fear he said, “whether the customer will come to us and what do we have to do to keep the contract,” he said in reference to all parts of the air cargo supply chain. Saying that the industry needs to keep things as simple and consistent as possible, he urged the industry to embrace change.

The need for change is multifaceted – from the steaming growThof e-commerce, to security and regulatory changes, the push for e-freight, mode and modal competition, changing production and consumption patterns, the need to deliver as promised and the associated push to strip 48-hours out of the average end-toend shipment time and on, and on.

Similarly Barry D Nassberg, group chief operating officer of Worldwide Flight Services noted that, “every year we talk about the same things but do we ever accomplish anything?

“We need to change and we need to come up wiThsolutions to the problems that we face in our industry.” Nassberg went on to remind everyone that in the early 1950s the industry air waybills and typewriters. “Now if you go to 2015 we have a computer and we type all those air waybills and we still make the same mistakes – on weight, commodities, destinations and everything else.