Are security measures neutralizing airfreight’s chief asset?

“We live and die by the clock. We never turn our back on it – never allow ourselves the sin of losing track of time,” says Chuck Noland, a time-obsessed efficiency expert for FedEx, in the opening sequence of the hit Robert Zemeckis movie “Cast Away.” He speaks to a group of trainees at the […]
  • Brandon Fried
  • July 3, 2018

Hitting the wall: Tariffs may bring a premature end to the cargo boom

Air cargo volumes over the past year achieved levels not seen in more than a decade as surging global economies fueled demand and reinvigorated the need for speed. Retailers and manufacturers seem to have been the prime users as increased business brought about by the e-commerce megatrend created the need for fast product delivery. Now, […]
  • Brandon Fried
  • June 5, 2018

What will ELDs do to the noble profession of truck driving?

One of the biggest thrills I remember when I was a kid was leaning against the back-seat rear window of my father’s Pontiac Bonneville and gesturing to oncoming truckers to blow their air horns. Once heard, the glee throughout the car was contagious, not only because of the rig’s loud roar but also the impressive […]
  • Brandon Fried
  • April 2, 2018

A ‘New NAFTA’ could lead to angry Canadian neighbors

To most Americans, Canadians are perceived to be chronically polite and kind. But recently, a decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission defeating the Trump administration’s attempt to impose duties of almost 300 percent on imported jets made by a Canadian manufacturer may be the cause for some uncharacteristic celebratory behavior. The decision may have […]
  • Brandon Fried
  • March 2, 2018

A glimpse into the future of forwarding – through a cloudy crystal

If forecasting is the art of predicting what will be, and later explaining why it didn’t happen, then this may be as clear a glimpse of the future as we’re going to get. Freight transportation performance last year turned out to be one of the best in almost a decade, resulting from many factors, including […]
  • Brandon Fried
  • February 2, 2018

Automation must always come with a human touch

Technology’s imprint on our industry over the past 50 years has enabled profound automation advances that are likely to continue their march of progress over the decades to come. Whereas in the past we saw technology as a tool to accomplish a task, many now see automation as an end unto itself, but this may […]
  • Brandon Fried
  • December 7, 2017

Disruption, adaptation no stranger to forwarding business

Disruption is nothing new to the air forwarding industry, as I recently learned from a friend who just celebrated 50 years in the business. When asked about today’s disruptors, he chuckled and started rattling off a litany of examples. We now accept most of them as the norm, but when they were first introduced, they […]
  • Brandon Fried
  • May 2, 2017

Automation cannot replace forwarder specialization

The forwarding industry is experiencing a significant amount of criticism these days for its apparent failure to jump on the digital transformation bandwagon. As the online ordering craze gives rise to global e-commerce, small- and large-volume shippers wonder if their forwarders can meet the challenges of shipping across borders, making rapid quotes, responding immediately, and […]
  • Brandon Fried
  • April 4, 2017

Those who ignore high-tech progress, prepare to get forked

American baseball star Yogi Berra once said that when you get to a fork in the road, take it. His quote recently came to mind while listening to speakers at the recent Air Cargo Forum, sponsored by The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) in Paris. Participants in the conference suggested that shipping companies that fail […]
  • Brandon Fried
  • December 2, 2016

A practical solution to an impractical screening problem

When it comes to the screening and inspection of cargo, U.S.-based airfreight forwarders have become experts on the topic and its challenges. Physically screening 100 percent of air cargo on passenger flights to and from all U.S. airports has been one of the most monumental achievements in aviation since the Sept. 11 tragedies of 15 […]
  • Brandon Fried
  • October 5, 2016

Swan song for the first jumbo jet?

In remembrance of the late Boeing engineer Joe Sutter, the “Father of the 747,” who passed away last week, columnist Brandon Fried shares his memories of the first time he spotted the world’s first jumbo jet, as a child, and how it profoundly affected him throughout his life. The first time I saw a Boeing […]
  • Brandon Fried
  • September 5, 2016

Committed to raising our collective Cargo iQ

Recently, while speaking at the World Cargo Symposium in Berlin, IATA’s CEO Tony Tyler called for a further transformation in the airfreight industry, saying that quality of service should be its priority. Indeed, industry performance has been lackluster over the past few years. As global recessionary pressures reduced yields, shippers began seeking the shelter of […]
  • Brandon Fried
  • May 3, 2016

Fried: Instead of banning batteries, let’s enforce our laws

About midnight on Feb. 7, 2006, the crew of UPS flight 1307 was alerted to a smoke indication in the cockpit as their DC-8 freighter was on its final approach to Philadelphia International Airport. The pilots immediately evacuated the airplane after landing, escaping with minor injuries as fire destroyed the plane and its cargo on […]
  • Brandon Fried
  • April 1, 2016

Staring down the oncoming Amazon freight train

2015 is shaping up to be a roller-coaster year for freight forwarder and carrier volumes. An air cargo surge caused by the West Coast port labor slowdown led to congestion-related challenges at major gateways throughout the United States. A strong U.S. dollar has since depressed export volumes, leading to bargain-basement rates for forwarders from both […]
  • Brandon Fried
  • December 2, 2015
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