As a member of the Airforwarders Association board of directors, we had one of our quarterly meetings and then our annual convention.
AirCargo is held annually in a different city and this year was in New Orleans. It is jointly put on by the Airforwarders Association, Express Delivery and Logistics Association, Air-Expedited Motor Carriers Association and Airports Council International – North America. The conference, which drew over seven hundred attendees, presenters and exhibitors, is the premier air cargo event that covers everyone from ground handlers, equipment manufacturers and forwarders.
There was no shortage of topics that were covered impacting everyone in attendance. From sessions that had controlled admittance by the TSA to airport planning sessions and strategies on how to best build out airports and infrastructure to maximize cargo revenue and success, there was something for everyone.
The conference was keynoted by Jim Crane who founded two companies, Eagle and most recently Crane Worldwide. He shared stories dating back to his start in St. Louis decades ago to where he is today not just as the owner of Crane, but as the owner of the Houston Astros as well.
The audience at this conference has some overlap with the Customs broker community which I am involved with as well. But to hear it from their perspective is always refreshing and welcome. I love the fact that my twin positions with the AfA and NCBFAA let me help both sides understand each other and work together.
At the end of the day, the takeaway from this event is that air cargo will see changes in the coming year. The West Coast ports situation produced a boom economy for the past few months for airlines and freight forwarders. However, pricing, regulation and capacity balancing will all play a role in the future. Also not without consideration is technology. Air cargo has been able to live in the world of paper since the earliest days, but security and data collection requirements require modern-day solutions and the industry will need to make an investment and technology providers will need to adapt to bring those solutions to market.