By Adina Solomon
The air cargo industry needs to reach out to educational institutions and create a more robust internship program in order to attract the next generation, says Jennifer Frigger-Latham, director global network at EMO Trans.
A panel that took place Tuesday at the CNS Partnership Conference was made up of Frigger-Latham; Kenji Hashimoto, president of American Airlines Cargo; Ray Curtis, vice president of sales at Delta Cargo; and Chris Connell, president of Commodity Forwarders, Inc.
“When young folks think about their careers, they want to make a difference,” Hashimoto says. “And we do make a difference.”
Frigger-Latham says an air cargo curriculum should be in schools.
The panel also calls for more investment in infrastructure such as airports and roads and for the Federal Aviation Administration to update its air traffic controller system.
Connell points out that the many voices of the air cargo interest organizations can get distracting when it comes to talking with government. Frigger-Latham says the industry should stand in unison in front of Congress.
“It really comes down to the type of infrastructure that is often out of our control,” Curtis says. “How do we have a unified voice in the government?”
Frigger-Latham says ocean and over-the-road carriers have closed the gap with airfreight and are offering more services than ever before.
“Some modal shift is almost permanent,” she says. “But the good news is that some core business for airfreight will always be there…When a customer chooses one or the other, it’s not that big a deal. You just open another binder.”
Connell says modal shift isn’t new – and it’s happening faster. Yet the industry should not fear it.
“It’s just the reality, but air does have its place,” he says. “It’s just a little more defined.”