In 2002, when the U.S. government imposed a tariff on imported steel, the Port of New Orleans realized that 37 percent of its shipments were of imported steel. “That helped us to understand that we needed to diversify a little more and put our eggs in more baskets,” President and CEO Gary LaGrange relates.

Now the number of baskets the Port of New Orleans has would keep the Easter Bunny busy for a week. “We’re a very diversified port,” LaGrange emphasizes. “We like to think that we don’t have a single specialty – we have six. The cornerstone of the port is break-bulk cargo, the cargo that doesn’t go into containers, that’s on pallets and wrapped with metal bands. We have heavy-lift and project cargo capabilities. We can bring in large pieces of equipment that go into refineries and plants, put them onto a barge and send them up 14,500 miles of waterways into 22 states and four provinces of Canada without touching land or having to meet a weight restriction on highways.”

Oakland County Director of Central Services J. David VanderVeen says that in today’s global economy, airports have become regional ambassadors. Airports are often the first impression a person has of a new area. VanderVeen says Oakland County in southeast Michigan makes sure that the impression its airports leave with guests is a positive one. 

“When someone lands or takes off from your facility for the first time, you make an impression and you want to make a good impression,” VanderVeen says. “At the direction of County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, we started a campaign years ago to make the airport more attractive. We cleaned up signs along the highway, and received landscape and beautification awards so we could put our best face forward.” 

Miami International Airport has become one of the largest airline hubs in the United States. Serving passenger and cargo flights to cities throughout the Americas, Europe and western Asia, Miami International Airport is also the largest gateway between the U.S. and Latin America. 

Miami International Airport handles more than 40 million passengers and two million tons of cargo annually, and it is among the nation’s busiest international passenger and cargo airports.  

“We are always looking to find ways to grow, to bring in more passengers and increase activity,” Director Dr. Emilio González says. ”We are also always looking to grow cargo and passenger capacity.”

AeroTurbine is meeting a variety of needs in the aviation market and gaining ground in the industry as a result. The company describes itself as one of the fastest-growing overhauled engine parts suppliers for three main reasons: staff, financial strength and systems.

“Our globally placed field sales representatives are industry and product-line specialists with their fingers on the pulse of the industry,” the company says. “They are able to locate aircraft parts and components wherever they are. They have also developed strategic relationships with more than 1,400 world-class shops.”

Southwest Airlines (SWA) Car–go’s vision and commitment to quality customer service hasn’t changed over the years, but nearly everything else about the operation has. Its technology, service areas and shipping capacity have all adjusted and expanded to serve a customer base that has also changed right along with everything else. Vice President of SWA Cargo and Charters Matt Buckley recalls serving a very different customer when the company began operating in the early 1970s. Back then it was primarily small packages, photo films waiting to be developed and canceled checks. But with the advent of the fax machine and industries going digital, shipments today look vastly different.

Cutter Aviation has been serving customers for 85 years. President William Cutter says one of the company’s biggest sources of pride is the fact that it has served multiple generations of the same families, which speaks to its consistently high level of quality service over its long history. As Cutter Aviation wraps up its 85th anniversary celebrations at this year’s National Business Aircraft Association meeting in Las Vegas, the company looks back on its more than eight decades of success and prepares for continued accomplishments in the future.

If you think working in the air cargo business wouldn’t be much fun, you need to meet Beti Ward, CEO of Pacific Air Cargo. “Do you know what a small herd of Alpaca, a helicopter, a Boeing 777 engine, and a whale have in common?” she asks.

The answer: “All of these have recently been transported to their destinations by Pacific Air Cargo.”

This fast-growing company is based at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and flies 747s to Honolulu most days and American Samoa weekly. “As an experienced express air cargo operation, Pacific Air Cargo’s drop off time extends to midnight with assurances of a 6 a.m. arrival. Not many offer that kind of service,” Ward says.

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