The shock of the new

Randy Head Shot-WebAs we age, it’s common to feel indifferent toward the new year. Once you’ve seen 40, 50 or 60 years go by, the need for champagne, confetti and Guy Lombardo music can seem like overkill. As U2’s Bono memorably sang more than 30 years ago, “Nothing changes on New Year’s Day.’

Not so for 2017. I can hardly remember a new year that has so many logistics question marks surrounding it, from cargo traffic predictions to the viability of free-trade agreements to the existential crisis forwarders are experiencing in light of the e-commerce revolution.

Here are just a few of the sweeping changes to come in the airfreight logistics landscape, which we cover in our February 2017 edition, our first full issue of the new year:

A new standard. In this increasingly interconnected world, carriers and forwarders must rely more than ever on securing shipments with the highest value, such as pharmaceuticals. In our February cover story, we look at pharma traffic in China, where middle-class demand for medications is far outstripping the nation’s capacity to maintain cold-chain quality standards. To help reduce this deficit, IATA’s previously Euro-centric CEIV-Pharma certification program is beginning to take root in the People’s Republic, as a wave of new cold-storage development provides new opportunities for logistics companies.

A new world view. Love him or hate him (few have managed to express ambivalent feelings toward the man), President Trump is finally part of our collective reality. While the Trump Era will likely signal the end of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and a retreat toward protectionism in the United States, new alliances are being formed elsewhere to keep global trade thriving. For example, in our latest feature, emerging manufacturing powerhouse Vietnam, far from being devastated by the loss of the TPP, is already pivoting its attention to the European Union and to other nearby countries in Southeast Asia for new free-trade agreements to keep its global ambitions on track.

A new strategy. E-commerce has become such an accepted way of doing business, it’s hardly worth adding the “e” to the term anymore. Yet, despite the warnings, many forwarders still feel blindsided by the wave of e-commerce that has washed over an industry increasingly dominated by the likes of Amazon and Alibaba. Reflecting this change, Air Cargo World begins the first of a series of columns by logistics consultant Stan Wraight, titled “Where We Went Wrong,” about the dire need for a renaissance in airfreight innovation. In this initial installment, Wraight sends a clarion call to air cargo firms, describing how the industry failed to grasp the importance of e-commerce and must force itself to cooperate in order to keep customers from seeking other modes.

A new look. In response to some of these tectonic shifts in 2017, readers will begin to see some other changes right here at Air Cargo World in the coming months, including the magazine’s first-ever joint presentation of the Cargo Facts Asia conference, to be held April 25-26 in Shanghai, along with sister publication Cargo Facts (see cargofactsasia.com for details). We will also begin rolling out some improvements in ACW’s design in the coming months, including a new section in the magazine dedicated to innovation and technology in support of our second-annual ELEVATE Conference, set for Oct. 2 in Miami Beach (see elevateaircargo.com). Also, coming in October, we will begin a celebration of the magazine’s 75th continuous year in publishing as we look back through the many decades of air cargo evolution within these pages.

Stay tuned to aircargoworld.com for the latest news and updates on these developments. Throughout this year of upheaval, we will continue telling the never-ending story of air cargo with the most comprehensive and insightful coverage in the logistics industry. As Bono also once sang: “I’ve conquered my past / the future is here at last / I stand at the entrance / to a new world I can see.”

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