Target Logistic Services

Target Logistic Services

President and chief executive

The airfreight industry in 2004 must work more closely with the airlines that carry our cargo. Air cargo still has a long way to go to become an important part of the domestic and international transportation scene. Despite all the attention we generate, airfreight's share of the international pie is small. Domestically, we generate only about 2 percent of all inter-city traffic by volume. Internationally, it's only about 4 percent, although by value it is much higher. Forwarder-airline relationships remain far from ideal. They must be improved this year and beyond to raise revenues and yields. Respect and trust must replace suspicion and enmity. What constitutes a good, healthy relationship between the forwarder and airline? Perhaps the most important factor is honesty and candor on both sides. Issues are far more important, the stakes too high to en-gage in Pollyanna statements at cargo conferences, then forget them as soon as the participants leave the room. We need to work together in 2004 toward a common goal - superior service to the shipper.

Air cargo is facing fierce competition at every level. Domestically, LTL truckers are determined to snatch as much cargo as possible from forwarders. Internationally, shipping lines are cutting rates on key lanes. The health of our business in 2004, even despite a stronger economy, is too fragile for airlines to play tricks on forwarders. Examples:

-- Transcribing our customers' shipping labels when our pallets or containers arrive at airlines' cargo terminals for shipment, then soliciting these shippers directly.

-- Changing rates quickly and often with almost no warning so that we forwarders are left holding the bag and forced often to charge non-compensatory rates to our customers.

Let's stop playing tricks and remember that it is we forwarders who remain the airlines cargo departments' most loyal customers. Let's remember that more than 60 percent of all domestic cargo and 90 percent of all international airfreight is forwarder-originated. Let's stick to what each does best. We will find the freight. You, the airlines, fly it. It's a mutually beneficial arrangement that will help both parties in 2004.