top of page

A view from the Board

Henrik Ambak, former Chair of CiQ

Having recently stepped down after 5 years as Chair of Cargo iQ, I am delighted to see the organization stronger and more purposeful than ever, and no doubt Kerstin Strauss and RJ Pegels, as the new Chair and Vice Chair respectively, will continue the journey of making Cargo iQ ever more relevant.

And “relevant” has indeed been the true driver behind my career-long participation. Unlike integrators, air cargo operates in a fragmented supply chain, with cargo passing from shipper, trucker, agent, and GHA to airline, back to GHA, agent, trucker, and finally to consignee. This means a strong quality management system for service delivery across all stakeholders, and applied in real time by control towers or control centers, is essential.

The true collaborative nature of Cargo iQ remains its unique strength as no single stakeholder has the upper hand. Together, we achieve more.

The past 5 years have been quite a roller coaster for the industry, with 2019 seeing a flat market with low profits for air cargo during the Covid period, to (temporarily) becoming the heroes of the pandemic - a status well on its way to being lost to e-commerce which, already growing quickly, practically exploded over this period. The industry saw new players enter, with several container carriers getting into the freighter business serving forwarders or shippers directly, and an increasing number of forwarders took on leased freighter capacity.

Where does that leave the air cargo industry as we look to the future? The glory days of Covid are now long gone, signaled by an increasing return of passenger networks with belly space, but e-commerce continues to grow rapidly. The biggest unknown our industry faces is the effects of global warming. The rather minor EU mandate requiring 2% of all aviation fuel to be Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) from 2024, growing to 6% in 2030, leaves me wondering - will stronger means be used? For example, taxes on less green activities to fund green activities? And when will the consumers really act (if at all), when we remember that food-miles applied in some counties during the first CO2 “crisis” of 2007/08?

The Covid period represents for me (in a professional capacity, parking the personal medical tragedies for a moment), a unique period where things were done instantly. We saw STCs (Supplemental type certificate) for cabin loading of cargo on passengers aircraft completed within 3 months, (with the industry having lost 50% of global capacity with the grounding of passenger networks), and safely loadable amounts of dry ice almost doubled in the same timeframe (a result arising from realizing that the 37 year old regulation was way behind modern aircraft technology).

So, given that "when we had to, we could", can we please also realize “when we want to, we can”?

In the last 5 years we have taken Cargo iQ in a direction more focused on actual deliveries, closing gaps to allow 100% measurement and reporting, while adding deeper business value like creating standards for shipments that do not have a fixed delivery time promise, care mapping for medicals and other special types of cargo, and standards for trucking off- or on-line, providing an important part of the total air cargo offer. These developments are essential for control towers to truly rely on Cargo iQ for real time monitoring.

Looking forward, newer technologies will allow Cargo iQ to move from current milestone updates to “here I am” information, and hence facilitate improved proactive action. We all use FlightRadar and hence flight delays are publicly available already.

I here stress the real-time use of this, but of course the standardized statistics or KPIs are already well practiced by airlines with their GHA’s based on SLAs and I would imagine that forwarders will increasingly do the same for the airline/forwarder relation. Objective numbers tell a true story which can then be acted upon.

We are a few steps further on our “we will never be perfect, but we strive for perfection daily” journey, but I believe a bit of Covid time “necessity of urgency” will be helpful as we continue onwards. Let's get it done…now!

Story edited by  


bottom of page