The official theme of the 2002 Airfreight Management Conference & Exposition may be "Staying Ahead of the Curve: Our Emerging Role in Logistics Management," but the recession and its impact on transportation providers is sure to be the prime agenda topic as U.S. air forwarders gather for their annual meeting in Hollywood, Fla.
"Everything was affected by last year's decline, particularly after September 11," explained David E. Wirsing, executive director, Airforwarders Association, which is organizing the meeting along with the Air & Expedited Motor Carriers Conference. "Overnight, a general malaise became an industry-wide, (government)-ordered shutdown. Expedited trucking services picked up some extra business in those first days after the attacks, and soon the air network was back up. But the problem was that manufacturing came to a screeching halt. And today, inventories are at levels as low as I can ever remember."
Wirsing is optimistic that new security measures building on those mandated by the post-TWA 800 Gore Commission, have positioned the air freight industry to meet more stringent security requirements
That is especially true in the case of requirements for more specific cargo documentation, and the need for forwarders to intimately know their customers -- and the goods that they ship.
For Brandon Fried, chief operating officer of forwarder Adcom Worldwide, one critical issue remains the tougher access to space on commercial aircraft. This, he says, has its greatest impact upon new shippers who may not be known to carriers or …