Leg-up for transatlantic traffic


The North American air cargo market has seen shake-ups in recent months, but Finnair Cargo is weathering the turbulence with a strong new partner covering its back.

Customer service calls start at 8:00 am on the dot, and the lines run hot until the end of the business day for Network Cargo Systems (NCS) at New York’s John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport. When it comes to business, including air cargo, the pace never lets up in New York.
On August 1st, NCS took over as Finnair Cargo’s new Global Sales Agent (GSA) for the North American market. In a bid to reduce costs, Finnair chose to delegate local sales to a well-established, well-connected expert with 22 years’ experience in the air cargo industry. By partnering with NCS, Finnair will be better equipped to serve freight forwarders throughout the US and Canada with the strong customer focus for which it is renowned.
“We are more efficient on the ground and have the ability to cover all points with our own staff. Obviously the major benefit to Finnair is from a cost point of view – infrastructure costs are zero,” says Paul Umpleby, VP Sales and Operations at Network Cargo Systems.
Umpleby heads a chain of NCS offices throughout the USA and Canada based at locations including JFK, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami and Toronto. 
“Each market is different, but as you can imagine, New York is always very hectic. We even stay open on Saturdays to handle weekend business.” 

No stopping the rollercoaster 

Finnair’s decision to suspend selected transatlantic freighter operations and its North American sales organization came in response to high costs and rollercoaster-like dips in demand.
“We are still seeing many ups and downs, mostly due to the overcapacity of European lift. We have seen no real trends, as North America has become more of an ad-hoc market. Also, this is traditionally a slow period due to manufacturing slowdowns during the summer months,” notes Umpleby.
Nevertheless, he sees Finnair Cargo as offering unique potential especially to destinations such as Helsinki, the Baltics and St. Petersburg in Russia – without the same overcapacity issues that beleaguer traditional European markets such as Frankfurt, Paris or London.
“Finnair offers a good, reliable, cost-effective solution for North American customers shipping to niche market destinations. They have a very reputable name and a long-standing place in the USA to Helsinki market.” 

Strong service mindset

Finnair Cargo will continue to offer daily, year-round Airbus A330 wide-body passenger flights between JFK and Helsinki, and seasonal summer wide-body flights between Toronto and Helsinki. In December, Finnair will launch a three-times-weekly seasonal wide-body service between Miami and Helsinki.
The main goods Umpleby expects Finnair to ship from North America are automotive parts, live animals, oil and petrol supplies, machinery and pharmaceuticals to Helsinki, the Baltics, St. Petersburg, Moscow and Scandinavia.
The transition to a new GSA is never entirely painless – especially after having your own local sales organization – but Umpleby affirms that the process has gone smoothly. “We took over in Canada on June 1st, so we were able to have our staff trained in advance of the start-up in JFK.”
Network Cargo Systems looks forward to a long and prosperous business relationship with Finnair. “We pride ourselves on our partnership with this quality and service-oriented carrier. And we know that if we don’t service the customer, they will find someone else who will.” 
Text by Silja Kudel 


Published August 22, 2014

Category: Local features, Finnair Cargo