Brandon Fried was guest speaker at recent JFK Air Cargo Association Luncheon. He is a passionate cargo guy and is a man dedicated to the freight forwarders industry. He travels around the country seeing many different operations, business types and logistics. His observations have lead to today’s presentation topic of Air Cargo Outlook for 2018 .While he offers no over arching solutions, he offers a lot of food for thought so that the cargo community, here at JFK can take a hard look at what is happening around the country and benefit from proactive measure to insure JFK cargo future growth.
Much of what he said was rhetorical since these questions were left to be answered by actions taken by the cargo world in light of the whole new world of E-commerce and its impact on all phases of cargo.
Fried talked about the e-commerce megatrend and the “fundamental paradigm shift in retailing” and Amazon’s space in the framework and how e-commerce is bringing change to forwarding by shrinking borders, faster clearances and deliveries and increasing volumes about 9% over last year. Of note is the development of large cargo drones from Bowing, Natilus, Aeroscraft and Lockheed Martin.He points to Amazon’s Prime owning their own planes, and overnight delivery. Will new planes provide enough room to haul all of the cargo?
Fried asked about infrastructure and said that the US is falling behind on infrastructure investment and not keeping pace with other nations. He points to need to bridge the funding gap for roads and airports which may be as much as $2 trillion by 2019.
Speaking of roads he asks what impact will the new Electronic Logging Device mandate have on truck driver productivity? Will this lead to less drivers on the road and fewer available trucks? The recent WFS announcement of a new JFK 346,000 foot facility is certainly encouraging but what about road access to the terminal? Many answers remain.
Fried commented on the airports with the handling delays in dealing with the enormous amount of cargo created by e-Commerce and mail causing unsurpassed airport congestion not just here at JFK but in other big airports including ORD, SEA, LAX BOS?
He said that forwarders are becoming automated and that makes things easier for the customer but there will always be the need for people to interact with customers, especially with large, outsized cargo.
But forwarders ignoring automation do so at their own peril because the Millennials communicate electronically to each other and they are taking more positions in cargo as older cargo veterans retire.
Is “Blockchain” an answer or simply a solution looking for a problem? Will the NAFTA renegotiation and jumping out of the Trans Pacific Partnership make it more expensive for us to source parts from overseas?
Most importantly, will political brinksmanship, including the tense global situation (think North Korea) create an adverse impact on the prosperity the freight transport industry currently enjoys? And the promise in streamlining regulations, Trump’s 2-for – Executive Order has not resulted in much-yet.
Fried left the luncheon attendees with lots to consider as the cargo community moves forward to tackle all of the questions raised.