Air Forwarders to focus on new markets, security, environmnent

In an exclusive interview with SCMR, AfA’s executive director, Brandon Fried, shared his views on some of the more pressing issues

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With their annual conference coming up in Miami next March, The Air Forwarders Association (AfA) will focus on a variety of concerns.

In an exclusive interview with SCMR, AfA’s executive director, Brandon Fried, shared his views on some of the more pressing issues.

Supply Chain Management Review: “AirCargo 2012” places a heavy emphasis on opportunities for U.S. shippers in Latin American. Can you explain?

Brandon Fried: While the Asia Pacific remains dominant, we see some softening in markets there. North American buyers are beginning to source products from this hemisphere to save on fuel and total landed cost expenses.

SCMR: To what extent will your constituents be discussing carbon trading?

Fried: The European Union Emissions Trading Scheme has generated much attention to this important issue since the unilateral initiative threatens to increase air freight and airline passenger related costs significantly. No doubt several of our air carrier attendees will be discussing this initiative that seems to be gaining momentum.

SCMR: Does your association have a position on it?

Fried: The AfA believes that excessive carbon burning is a primary cause behind a worldwide problem of global warming and that any solution intended to deal with the issue must be harmonized with all countries. We disagree with the European Union’s unilateral approach that fails to consider the opinions of other nations while imposing financial hardship to those carriers serving its member states. The preferred solution is to work with other countries through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in drafting a workable plan that restricts carbon emissions in a mutually agreeable manner. We regret that the European Union has failed to include outside country input in its program and urges a reconsideration that focuses on a more global approach.

SCMR: What commodity groups are leading growth?

Fried: The two significant commodity groups that appear to be leading growth are electronics and textiles. We expect this activity to continue throughout the year.

SCMR: Any new specific demands coming from emerging nations?

Fried: Probably the biggest demand coming from emerging nations is the need for industrial and logistics expertise. These nations are just beginning to experience an increased rate of growth calling for trained individuals who understand the challenges of growing factory output and moving products overseas quickly and efficiently.

SCMR: How soon will bio-fuels become relevant?

Fried: Many of our members are beginning to incorporate fuel-efficient equipment into their trucking and aviation fleets. Some are even powered with bio-fuels that while experimental, hold much promise for the future. We are extremely excited since they use of this energy is capable of reducing our carbon footprint while decreasing dependence on foreign oil.

SCMR: Finally, are there any other issues our readers should be aware of?

Fried: The industry is becoming more technology-driven. We should expect much more emphasis on bill of lading data element analysis before shipments depart – hopefully resulting in less scrutiny and a higher level of trust for frequent shippers.

About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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