The Airforwarders Association and the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America are calling for a State or Federal-backed ‘Air Cargo Support Fund’ to tackle the crisis in the US industry.
The recommendations form part of a whitepaper following a survey of 400 air cargo stakeholders in the public and private sectors, identifying the critical issues and the airports where the challenges are greatest.
AfA executive director Brandon Fried, said that with airports and airlines experiencing substantial revenue shortfalls over the past two years, 2the situation is becoming critical with potentially severe impacts on the economy and jobs throughout the country”.
While airports have received Airports received $25 billion under the Infrastructure Act, the largest federal investment in public transit in history, there is no specific allocation or requirement that funds be used for air cargo development.
Fried warned also: “Because of the lagging financials, airports will be allocating the monies of the Infrastructure Act to passengers, security, and safety, leaving insufficient funds to sustain air cargo operations. Additional funding, specifically dedicated to air cargo, is urgently needed.”
The white paper, called Safeguarding the future of air cargo: its economic importance and critical need for investment, warns that a lack of investment could lead tojob losses, as well as delays to shipping time-sensitive products by air, and higher costs to all elements of the logistics chain from shipper to buyer.
“The findings in the whitepaper demonstrate major concern from both NCBFAA and AfA members,” said Donna Mullins, vice president, Kale Info Solutions, and air freight subcommittee chair at the NCBFAA. “We have worked hard to present clear recommendations but these will come at a cost and it is vital that the $25 billion that airports will receive by way of the Infrastructure Act is allocated across all areas of airport development.”
The recommendations include implementing airport community systems, encouraging better recruitment and retention through improved compensation packages, and a new industry-wide training program.