'Where's Willie?' is the cry as WCS ends and IATA looks increasingly irrelevant
The Buddenbrooks effect, outlined in the eponymous 1901 novel by Germany’s Thomas Mann, describes how ...
IATA is set to lose yet another cargo veteran at a time when, arguably, it needs them most, with the voluntary redundancy of Michael White, president of IATA’s US cargo offshoot, Cargo Network Services (CNS).
Forwarders have expressed concerns over the move, which will result in changes to CNS.
Mr White, who has been at CNS for more than 12 years and helmed it for nearly three, will leave the organisation at the end of the year.
The news follows the recently announced decision by head of IATA Cargo Glyn Hughes to take voluntary redundancy.
IATA said it had been “deeply impacted” by the pandemic crisis, adding: “Early on, our senior management took voluntary pay cuts and we drastically reduced our spending.
“As the crisis has continued, we have also launched an organisational restructuring to ensure IATA and our subsidiaries, including CNS, are well-positioned to sustainably support our members during and after the crisis.”
IATA will appoint a new president for CNS later this year, it said, denying recent reports it might seek to close it – but did reveal the organisation would be restructured.
“CNS was created as an independent subsidiary to serve as IATA’s Cargo Accounts Settlement System (CASS) and cargo agent endorsement programme in the United States. CNS CASS will continue in that role, moving forward after the leadership transition.
“Over the past several years, CNS has also played a significant role in advancing the US cargo agenda, with the support of the CNS advisory board and in cooperation with IATA’s Miami-based cargo team and government affairs team in Washington.
“As part of the restructuring, the IATA regional cargo team in Miami and the Washington office will primarily be responsible for advancing the US cargo agenda, while CNS will focus on its core mission on ensuring that the CASS continues to meet the needs of the US cargo industry.
“In this way we will ensure the viability of CNS and preserve the needed capabilities to support the air cargo industry in the US.”
Several industry players have expressed concern over the loss of expertise at IATA. Head of the US Airforwarders Association Brandon Fried, in a letter to Flying Typers, called on IATA and CNS to “demonstrate their commitment” to the industry.
“While we wish Glyn and those leaving IATA our best with their future endeavours, forwarders are concerned about the apparent loss of valuable cargo managers from the organisation.
“Cargo has proven to be more [important] than ever during this dreadful pandemic, making capable and robust leadership within IATA critical to the success of our industry. While the impact of these departures on CNS in the United States is unclear, IATA and CNS must continue to demonstrate a commitment to air cargo with experienced and dedicated managers, not paper tigers filling these vacancies.
“The ongoing work of the CNS advisory board remains a key to continuous dialogue between international airlines and their forwarder customers. The Airforwarders Association remains committed to maintaining this mechanism as an essential path to communication. We look forward to continuing this effort by offering our assistance in managing an ongoing advisory dialogue with CNS and IATA during this transitional period.”