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Well, we’ve come to the end of another year. Not, by any stretch of the imagination, a classic. But it’s best to count one’s blessings these days and really, it could have been worse. And there do seem to be some sparks of hope for next year, albeit not in the first, or even second quarter.
(In fact, I’ve just been looking into cargo going into Afghanistan – air freight volumes have at least doubled since the road route through Pakistan closed last month. I know, it’s something of a niche and you can’t go putting all that spare capacity into Kandahar, but “air freight volumes double” is not a phrase one gets to write very often.)
Anyway, The Loadstar will be hanging up its keyboard now for the Christmas period – unless (and there are one or two rather interesting things in the air) we can verify a couple of great stories. In which case you will be the first to know. Otherwise, The Loadstar will be back in the new year. 
Now a lot of people have asked what the point of the blog is. Commercially, for example, its lack of revenue stream makes it rather a poor business model. Originally, the idea was to learn about social media by experimenting on the air freight industry. Nothing much has changed, but at some point, perhaps, there may be a commercial angle. Not yet though. It’s too much fun as it is. 
And happily, thanks to the amazing generosity of Geodis Wilson and the UK’s P&I Club, the blog broke even following an awards ceremony on Tuesday night at which The Loadstar (and its owners) were very lucky. 
But the organisers of the awards, The Seahorse Club, are looking for an air-related sponsor for next year. And it does seem a bit of a shame that the sea freight sector is having to support air cargo. Last year was the first Air Cargo Journalist of the Year award, (won by the late Tony Carding) but this year the sponsor, Virgin Atlantic, pulled out. Leaving companies such as DP World, APM Terminals and Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics to take up the slack. 
(This year’s Air Cargo Journalist of the Year was Will Waters for Airline Cargo Management, and the runner-up, Ian Martin-Jones.)
So the awards solved The Loadstar’s commercial issues. But – and of course there’s a ‘but’ – if you have enjoyed reading the blog over the past nine months, and feel you would like to contribute in some way, I have set up a page here so you can contribute to Transaid, the charity that builds transport skills and knowledge in the places that need it. 
Founded by Save the Children and the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, it aims to improve livelihoods in Africa and the developing world, by doing practical things, such as reducing deaths on the road through driver training and maintenance programmes. 
So yes, there is a commercial angle, at least for the Christmas period.
Happy Holidays to one and all, and all the very best wishes for (an improved) 2012.

Supply Chain Journalist of the Year
Runner up: Journalist of the Year

and Gavin