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April 1 2019

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10 The Journal of Commerce | April 1 2019 Cover Story ago to take the helm of the AfA. "I've been a freight forwarder, and I know where they sit," he told The Journal of Commerce. "Having to pay a trucker to sit in line at a freight termi- nal for hours and hours is abhorrent to me. Not because they don't deserve to be paid for waiting, but because the congestion challenge is beyond our control. Our customers — the ship- pers — [don't] want to pay airline and ground handler [imposed] wait time and storage fees. Truckers can't absorb them. Brokers won't pay them. These are unrecoverable costs, and we're left holding the bag." Citing New York City's John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport as an example, Fried contended that if airports neglect the air cargo community, the cargo might land elsewhere. "We had 120 cargo people show up at our JFK town hall last November, and you could feel the passion, the heat, the concern in that room," he said. On Jan. 31, Fried returned to New York and made a presentation at a JFK Air Cargo Asso- ciation meeting that drew 75 people, including Mike Bednarz, manager of air cargo business for the Port Au- thority of New York and New Jersey. "For a long time, JFK rode the coattails of its reputation as the primary East Coast air cargo gate- way," Fried insisted. "But lack of SHIPPERS WILLING TO pay a premium price for air freight to ensure speed and reliability in major US markets are often shortchanged on both, as shipments are regularly delayed on and around traffic-snarled, truck-congested airports. The Washington, DC-based Airforwarders Association (AfA) is trying to change that, pushing airlines, ground handlers, truckers, customs brokers, airport officials, and their own members to commu- nicate with each other to resolve these costly logistical logjams. In the last 24 months, the association, a nationwide trade group of air freight forwarders working on behalf of importers and exporters of high-val- ue and time-sensitive cargo, has held town hall meetings at airports in Los Angeles, Seattle, Dallas, Chicago, Boston, and New York. Brandon Fried, executive direc- tor of the 300-member AfA, has made smoothing out the kinks in air cargo shipper supply chains and protecting the role and relevance of forwarders top priorities for the as- sociation. One reason for this is that ground handlers and airlines that operate their own cargo terminals are imposing wait time and storage costs on truckers dropping off or re- covering shipments, and forwarders who book the airport run are stuck paying the penalties. Fried and his fellow AfA board members have been relentless in organizing the meetings, bringing in between 90 and 125 air cargo service providers, including senior airport management. He said the goal is not to find a quick fix for these issues, but to shine a light on them and get stakeholders to share and collaborate on potential solutions. "If we're able to discuss solutions that may include some compromise and leveraging of technology, then we can begin the process," said Fried, who owned a freight forwarding firm for 25 years before selling it 14 years Ground "Having to pay a trucker to sit in line at a freight terminal for hours and hours is abhorrent to me."

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