The Airforwarders Association acts as the voice of air freight in the US transport and logistics sector, where it works closely with other industry associations to ensure a sustainable future for the sector. The group has actively lobbied about making critical investment in air cargo infrastructure at the country’s airports and helping shippers prepare for imminent changes to cargo screening requirements. In this interview, Brandon Fried, AfA executive director, outlines the group’s top priorities as well as the challenges for the industry in the coming years.
PLA: What are your top priorities for the AfA in the coming year?
BF: Our top priorities for the AfA in the coming year are to continue to advocate for funding on Capitol Hill for airports to address the growing cargo area truck congestion issue. This is a critical issue for our members and their customers. Truck congestion can cause delays and increased costs, hurting businesses and consumers.
Next is to educate our members about the upcoming TSA air cargo security changes coming November 1. These changes are designed to improve security and streamline the cargo screening process. We want to make sure that our members are prepared for these changes so that they can continue to operate efficiently.
Another top priority is working with members to create awareness of lithium batteries and other dangerous goods to ensure flight safety. Equally important is increasing awareness about the upcoming US Customs & Border Protection export manifest requirements.
Finally, we need to increase our international engagement. We believe being involved in the global air freight community is essential. We plan to do this by attending industry events, networking with foreign forwarder associations, and advocating for policies that support the free flow of goods across borders.
PLA: What are some of the biggest challenges that the US air freight forwarding industry will face in the coming years?
BF: Some of the biggest challenges that the industry will face in the coming years include e-commerce growth, technology disruption, the lithium battery challenge, and geopolitical uncertainty. The growth of e-commerce is putting a strain on the global air freight supply chain. Forwarders need to be able to handle the increasing volume of shipments and meet the demands of e-commerce customers. New technologies like blockchain and artificial intelligence are also disrupting the air freight industry. Forwarders need to be able to adopt these technologies to remain competitive.
All shipments containing lithium batteries need to be declared on shipping documentation. Failing to do so creates a potentially hazardous situation, and governments must increase enforcement of manufacturing standards. The global political landscape is increasingly uncertain. This can lead to trade disruptions and other challenges for forwarders.
PLA: How is the AfA preparing its members for these challenges?
BF: The AfA is preparing its members for these challenges by providing them with information, resources, and training. We offer a variety of educational programs and webinars on topics such as e-commerce, technology, and geopolitics. We also provide members with access to our network of experts representing many market niches who can help them address specific challenges.
PLA: What are your predictions for the US air freight forwarding industry in the next 5-10 years?
BF: The US air freight forwarding industry will continue to grow in the next 5-10 years, driven by e-commerce growth and global trade. However, the industry will face several challenges, including technological disruption and geopolitical uncertainty. Forwarders who can adapt to these changes and adopt new technologies will be well-positioned to succeed in the future. The AfA is committed to helping its members to do just that.
PLA: How is the AfA working to address the sustainability challenges facing the airfreight forwarding industry?
BF: The AfA is working to address the sustainability challenges facing the airfreight forwarding industry by promoting sustainable practices among its members. We offer educational programs and webinars on topics such as carbon footprint reduction and fuel efficiency. We also encourage members to participate in sustainable certification programs.
PLA: What advice would you give to young people who are interested in a career in the air freight forwarding industry?
BF: My advice to young people interested in a career in the air freight forwarding industry is to get involved as early as possible. You can do this by volunteering for an air freight or transportation association, interning with a forwarder, or taking logistics and supply chain management courses.
The airfreight forwarding industry is a challenging but rewarding career path. It is a global industry that offers the opportunity to work with people from all over the world. It is also a dynamic industry that is constantly changing. If you are looking for a challenging and rewarding career, I encourage you to consider a career in airfreight forwarding.