The new US administration must recognise air freight’s vital role in the current crisis, prioritising airport cargo workers for Covid vaccinations and supporting airport cargo infrastructure, argues Brandon Fried, executive director of the Airforwarders Association. And carriers must realise that efficient handling remains their responsibility, regardless of the subcontractor performing the task on their behalf
As government agencies within the Biden administration set their priorities and legislative agenda for the coming years, the Airforwarders Association urges the new administration to focus on a critical priority on behalf of the freight transportation industry.
As the United States and the world rallies to bring the approved vaccine to the public as quickly as possible, we must acknowledge that this supply chain does not have to be the bottleneck. The shipping, forwarding, and freight transportation industries have rapid distribution resources as unique challenges are an everyday occurrence within the logistics industry. However, hindrances regarding infrastructure could cause significant issues.
The congestion and bottlenecks at airports are not new, but with fewer planes in the sky and a limited workforce, it is approaching a critical mass. Not only is this harming the high priority distribution of COVID-19 vaccine, but it is also impairing economies in the United States and throughout the world, particularly in a year when E-Commerce has grown exponentially.
Solutions to solving the airport congestion dilemma will not be simple, but stakeholders working together is essential. First, health authorities must consider the fundamental nature of airport cargo workers and get them vaccinated immediately. Second, the pandemic proved that air freight is not only essential to commerce but in saving lives as well. Airport planners and government officials must consider its importance in providing workable infrastructure for stakeholders operating within their facilities.
Finally, airlines should not hire independent ground handlers and walk away from the process. Carriers must realise that customer satisfaction relies on the expedited and efficient handling of their product and remains their responsibility, regardless of the subcontractor performing the task on their behalf.