Everyone loves a good list. Science says so. We concur.
Lists absolve us of the mental strain of retaining a glut of interconnected facts, which we must then assemble in a haze of holiday hangovers. Doing so is especially challenging when it involves super-exciting subjects like quarterly reports, mergers, logistics clusters and whatnot. Air Cargo World’s gonna do you a solid here folks, and break down the year into bite-sized bits that you can read, process and jettison at your leisure. Hell, why not print this out, put it on the coffee table? That way your family and friends won’t look at you like you’re speaking Russian when you start breathlessly expounding on the latest developments in the exciting world of air cargo. We know your type – the sort who thinks 767 conversions is great subject matter for a first date – and we salute you!
But most of all, thanks for reading ACW throughout an exciting and dynamic 2016, and we’re looking forward to seeing you back here next year. So, without further ado, the ten most read stories of 2016:
- Power 25: Top forwarders find strength in integration (June 2, 2015): Size still matters to our readers, and while the agility of smaller players is undeniable, there is no denying economies of scale. In fact, the 10 largest players in the forwarding business currently control 35 percent of the global market, with heavy hitters like DHL Supply Chain & Global Forwarding and Kuehne + Nagel leading the pack.
The 2016 Freight 50: Analysis of top cargo carriers (Aug. 26,2016): ACW readers love lists, so here’s a list within a list – it’s a bit like that movie Inception, but hopefully easy to follow and with less Leonardo DiCaprio. We told you which carriers moved the most freight and got their executives to explain their performance. There was the good, such as Air China Cargo, which climbed four spots to number 15 due to “a better mix of cargo carried,” according to Wilson Yam, the carrier’s COO. And there were the bad and the ugly – that would be Saudi Arabian Airlines which fell by 47.9 percent, y-o-y, to 848 million FTKs, and dropping the carrier eight spots in the Freight 50 rankings to No. 43.
Will Deutsche Post shed DHL Global Forwarding? (Feb. 12, 2016): Frank Appel, CEO of DHL Global Forwarding’s parent company Deutsche Post DHL Group, assured ACW later in the year that the top brass had no intention of jettisoning their underperforming forwarding arm, despite last year’s failed experiment with DHL Global Forwarding’s new IT system, called “New Forwarding Environment,” which cost the company some €337 million. But that didn’t stop rumors from swirling earlier in the year that the company was considering dumping its cash-hemorrhaging forwarding business, and walking away from the whole debacle. Holding seems to have been a good call, with EBIT almost tripling in Q3 2016 to €755 million.
- Kalitta to diversify with 767 freighters (Feb. 8, 2016): Kalitta built its reputation flying 747s, and we wanted to know what the deal was with the 767s the cargo carrier was purchasing. 767s may be the go-to freighters for the integrators, but they’re rare in the general freight world. The answer, it turned out, was a combination of fleet maintenance requirements and a strategy shift at the Michigan-based carrier. The time was right for Kalitta to develop in the domestic market, explained Pete Sanderlin, the vice president and general manager, and number-two guy behind CEO and owner Conrad “Connie” Kalitta.
- Chinese printing industry exaggerates impact of Hangzhou’s G20 Summit (March 29, 2016): Our China guy, Charles Kauffman, got the inside scoop on the impending factory shut-downs in Hangzhou in the lead-up to the September G20 Summit, and it turns out that the press may have hyped this one a bit. Rumors began circulating early in the year that factories in China would be idled for up to three-months prior to the summit, which could put extra pressure on the supply chain and have a ripple effect on air cargo. However, local sources told ACW that the shutdown would only last two weeks – and we brought you the good news.
- Amazon takes the plunge into air cargo (March 9, 2016): Prime Air baby! A company that started out as a book seller now has its own all-cargo airline, operated by Atlas Air Worldwide and ATSG, at 20 aircraft a piece. This story dominated 2016, as Amazon created a media spectacle that was first cracked by our esteemed sister publication, Cargo Facts. As the months passed, Prime Air added drone delivery and ended the year with the discovery of a patent for a giant ‘Laputa-like’ floating warehouse. If the last year is any indication, fasten your seatbelts because this story is going to get weird, fast.
- New TSA directive unpopular with forwarders (February 11, 2016): It turns out, passengers aren’t the only ones that roll their eyes – and begrudgingly disrobe – when they see the blue-shirted U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents waving them forward with their discolored latex gloves (seriously, how often do they change those things, and don’t their hands turn into prunes after a few hours?). In early 2016, a new directive from the TSA requiring an additional security declaration to be displayed at intermediate points while tendered cargo is in transit, drew the ire of forwarders, which were not contacted for discussion of the rule before it was finalized on Jan. 29. Forwarders make the world go round, and they wanted the suits in D.C. to take that into account next time.
- Flight MH370 and the lithium battery theory (April 29, 2014): This one’s technically a 2014 story, but in the interest of honest and transparent reporting, it makes number eight on the list because, well, it surged back into the top 10 two years later, for some reason, which we’ll have to mine from the depths of Google Analytics someday. That said, with the exploding Samsung Note 7, hazardous air cargo has been at the forefront of public consciousness and the marriage of an air tragedy and hand-held devices that blow up in your actual hands probably was enough to keep readers clicking for more.
- Alibaba vs. Amazon: How e-commerce giants are reinventing forwarding (March 1, 2016): Guess what, it’s another Prime Air story (we weren’t kidding, this story gets a lot of eyeball). In this installment, ACW editor Randy Woods delivered some top-shelf analysis of Amazon’s and Alibaba’s respective blueprints for global domination of the logistics industry. The winner of this battle for market share between e-commerce titans, Woods contended, will rewrite the rules of express freight, turning former clients like UPS, FedEx and DHL into competitors. It may also reinvent the freight forwarding industry as we know it.
- DHL agrees to $53 million settlement in class action (Jan. 5, 2016): Last and, well, least comes the dénouement to a story that first broke in early 2011 of a scheme to inflate and maintain freight forwarding surcharges that began shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The fallout saw prominent executives jailed and massive settlements paid by carriers around the world, including DHL Global Forwarding (DHLGF, the forwarding arm of Deutsche Post-DHL), which agreed to pay a US$53 million settlement in a class action lawsuit that was filed in 2008.
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