Forget making a profit in 2009 says Wraight

THIS year should be considered a “write off” for most freight forwarders and airlines in terms of trying to make a profit, according to Stan Wraight speaking at the World Air Cargo Event in Bangkok today.

Speaking as the chair of the opening panel session on how to cope with the current financial crisis, Wraight said, having worked through previous economic recessions, that “nothing else compares to this”. While acknowledging that the banks and financial institutions had their part to play in the cause of the global recession, he said that its severity and duration is due to fear.

“This is a crisis of confidence” he said. “If people can overcome their fear of buying products from companies that may go bust then the market will recover quicker.”

This is all the more important in Asia where the demand in airfreight has dropped so dramatically. Japanese figures just released have recorded a massive drop of 50 per cent in January.

His advice for chief executive officers was to be optimistic and to assume that the “bottle of wine is half-full not half-empty” but to also be realistic. “They will have to make some tough decisions this year, which may include having to get rid of some employees, automate some processes and invest in areas that they wouldn’t normally think of investing in.”

While 2009 may have to be forgotten about for making a profit, he advised, it is vital to prepare for 2010 and be ready to take immediate advantage of opportunities when the market recovers next year.


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