Freight is piling up. Back in February 2022, the COVID-19 omicron variant was sidelining employees in all sectors. Air cargo shippers were no exception, and the bottlenecks produced a downstream effect that is still being felt today.
While the freight pile-up has eased just slightly, the same cannot be said for Shanghai. With one of the largest manufacturing centers in all of China, the country’s “zero-COVID” strategy has resulted in lockdowns that are impacting the entire export (and import) sectors. A mind-boggling 9 out of 10 trucks are sidelined and up to 50% of air traffic has been diverted. While this has yet to be fully felt Stateside, a tsunami of deferred cargo is coming and the impact could be quite severe.
All of this has pushed industry players into intense preparation and strategy phases. One such association is the Airforwarders Association (AfA). Known within the industry as the travel agents for freight shipments, AfA represents 200 + member companies that move cargo throughout the supply chain. Members are as small as family businesses with 20 or fewer employees to 1,000 + companies. AfA is rightly concerned about the present state of affairs and with the objective of minimizing the pending impact, members of AfA’s Airport Congestion Committee (ACC) have agreed to work on five critical issues:
- Technology and Automation
- Service Standards
- Airport Facilities and Infrastructure
- Staffing and Hours of Operation
- Regulatory and Paperwork Challenges
The above five were identified via a comprehensive survey of airport cargo stakeholders. The AfA collaborated with the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA) and the Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) on the survey. The ultimate deliverable is a Recommendation Paper highlighting the congestion challenges as well as proposed solutions.
The survey generated hundreds of responses and Donna Mullins, Vice President of AfA member Kale Info Solutions, and Chair of the ACC is optimistic that said paper will be put to use. ACC additionally intends to present its potential solutions to members of Congress as well as the Secretary of Transportation. They’ve received strong buy-in across the supply chain, including but not limited to forwarders, ground handlers, trucking and tech companies, airlines, and airports.
If the slow-moving tsunami is indeed upon us, a coordinated response is going to be critical. The ACC’s next steps and deliverables are said to be decided at the end of May.
The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) announced the launch of the Regional Symposium series. The series is aimed at engaging and bringing the air cargo community together to discuss issues that we are facing at a regional level. The kick-off event will be held in Amsterdam and will be hosted by Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.
The Regional Symposiums are designed to identify specific issues on a regional level that TIACA can incorporate into our overall work on behalf of the industry. The program will include important discussions on sustainability, market challenges, people issues and the economic outlook. Digitalization, safety and security issues will also feature highly on the program.
Each Symposium will develop a Regional Action plan that will be incorporated into TIACA strategic objectives and activities. The price point (or attendance fees) is set low to encourage both members and non-members to join so that we can get a full understanding of the local needs for air cargo.
Steven Polmans, Chairman TIACA emphasized TIACA is committed to being connected to their membership and by organizing the Regional Symposiums, they are able to interact more intimately with their members in each region and discuss what issues they face on a day-to-day basis adding that TIACA is greatly appreciative for the support of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol for inviting them to Amsterdam to launch the inaugural event.
The first Regional Symposium will be held in Amsterdam, June 28th in Amsterdam City Centre. The event will include one day interactive conference sessions, an evening reception and a tour of the airport is being planned for the 29th.
We are very honored to host the first TIACA Regional Event. As Europe’s preferred Cargo Hub, we are more than delighted to welcome the community to Amsterdam for the kick-off event. It will be an interesting event full of new insights. We hope to see and meet many Air Cargo professionals. Roos Bakker, Director Business Development Cargo at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
In an effort to create the nation’s first airport heated entirely by renewable natural gas, the Port of Seattle announced last week’s Request for Proposals to support the boilers and bus fueling system of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport with renewable natural gas.
“The Port can play a major role in creating a renewable natural gas market because we offer a stable, long-term use of gas.” said Arlyn Purcell, Director of Aviation Environment and Sustainability, Port of Seattle.
The Port of Seattle’s Century Agenda is an initiative to meet the company’s vision of a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 within company operations. Currently, the company’s primary legislative focus is on the state level through advocating for a clean fuel standard in Washington and catching up to its competitors in California and Oregon that have ample support of state-level clean fuel standard policies.
Through the use of Renewable natural gas (RNG), the company hopes to replace fossil natural gas in its operations and create more opportunities that create a competitive advantage while supporting a gas emissions reduction total of 18,000 metric tons per year, depending on what proposals the company receives.
“If we can attract a project developer to supply the airport, this will spur more opportunities to feed the current gas pipeline with RNG rather than have landfills or digesters flare the gas on-site or allowing their methane emissions to escape into the air,” concluded Purcell.
Source: Port of Seattle