Veteran air cargo exec launches consulting firm
Michael R. White has left the Air Transport Association, where he worked as managing director of cargo services for nearly six years, to form his own air cargo consulting and management services firm.
Trade Network Consultants, based in Purcellville, Va., will focus on providing representation, trade compliance and outsourced logistics services to airlines, airports and government agencies. The company eventually plans to pursue air freight forwarder clients after it gets established, said White.
At the ATA, White played a big role improving the Air Automated Manifest System used by airlines to file cargo listings with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, helped negotiate the implementation of mandatory advance cargo information requirements to minimize any negative impact on carriers and helped the industry improve security measures after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. White also assisted a commission headed by former Vice President Al Gore that examined aviation safety after the TWA 800 disaster. The air cargo working group he was on pushed for better collection of data on shippers by the Federal Aviation Administration, a system now managed by the Transportation Security Administration, that has since evolved into the “known shipper” database for profiling shippers and screening which shipments are allowed onboard passenger aircraft for security purposes.
Partnering with White are several former airline executives with extensive experience in cargo operations, trade compliance and setting up ground trucking networks for airlines. Trade Network Consultants hopes to fill the void left by Air Cargo Inc., the Annapolis, Md.-based freight logistics and ground handling company partly owned by 17 airlines that went out of business last December. ACI acted as a truck broker to manage airlines’ road feeder service to, from and between airports. Trade Network Consultants will help airlines set up trucking networks, negotiate rates with trucking companies and manage ground transportation.
White, 50, said the firm will act as the point of contact for airlines and other companies dealing with government agencies on trade compliance and cargo related issues. He expects the company’s services will be in demand, particularly in the area of setting up electronic interfaces for automated manifest systems, the known shipper database and other systems for transmitting required data to regulators.
Trade Network Consultants already has a subcontract with Sandler & Travis to assist in the ongoing development of CBP’s Automated Commercial Environment, White said. The firm will conduct outreach to users of the new trade processing computer system to determine how it is working at various stages collect feedback on possible improvements. Sandler & Travis Trade Advisory Services is one of several subcontractors to IBM, which is developing ACE for CBP.
Prior to working at the Air Transport Association, White served as manager of cargo services for United Airlines and was regional vice president for Cargo Service Center, a former KLM subsidiary now part of giant ground handling operator Swissport.
ATA has not yet named someone to replace White as manager of cargo services.
Trade Network Consultants' Web site is at http://www.globaltnc.com.