Dayna Harap has been in the transportation industry for almost 30 years. She enjoys building solid relationships with customers and vendors to help them learn and grow from one another. She has spent nearly her entire career on the trucking side of the air cargo business in various roles, from operations to sales. She values every company she has worked for, as they have brought her to where she is today.
Dayna believes in teamwork, hard work, and a commitment to learning new things. Dayna actively networks and enjoys her ability to introduce people in the industry to one another so that they may help each other out. She always tries to attend other Air Cargo meetings in different cities whenever she is on the road and traveling for business.
1 What Are the Biggest Obstacles Facing the Cargo Industry Right Now?
Dayna: The biggest obstacles the cargo business has endured these days are delays in every mode of transportation. From cargo ships getting stuck in the ocean due to not having enough staff to unload them, or because the origin countries have been “locked down,” to having too many ships arriving simultaneously, causing massive delays. Airlines are also experiencing delays due to insufficient staff to unload the planes and tender the freight out of their facilities.
There’s not enough room for the overwhelming amount of cargo received daily and not “locating the cargo” in the warehouses to tender the freight to the companies trying to recover it. Truckers face significant delays as they try to recover the freight from airports and ocean ports, and the process snowballs as facilities cannot locate the freight. The lines for the truckers are massive; they can sit in lines for hours waiting to see if the freight is even available. This issue has become repetitive, and many organizations are trying to come up with resolutions.
2 Has the Cargo Industry Been Affected By the Worker Shortage?
Dayna: The cargo industry has definitely been affected by the worker shortage. It started initially with layoffs at the beginning of the Pandemic; everyone was trying to survive. Many facilities were closed, and at this same point, many companies switched to remote work. The government gave out unemployment benefits with additional financial benefits to try and help people and the economy.
However, some people were making more than when they worked, so like the rest of the U.S., our industry was affected by people who chose to be on unemployment because it was better for their families since their children were now learning remotely as well. Many parents didn’t want to over-expose their families to COVID by hiring someone to come in and “watch” their children as they were remote learning, and it didn’t make sense financially either. Today, many companies hiring people in “lower level” positions offer sign-on bonuses to lure people to return to work. Those in higher ranking positions were skeptical about leaving due to “unforeseen circumstances” as we were all trying to make it through the beginning stages of the Pandemic.
3 Are There Any Plans to Restart the JFK Air Cargo Expo?
Dayna: We have been going back and forth about the future of the Expo. We opted to postpone this year’s event because New York’s infection rate continues to grow after each holiday. We were considering a golf outing in June; however, the COVID numbers are rising again, and not all the board members are back to work in their respective offices full-time. This has prevented us from having in-person board meetings; our meetings have been virtual since the start of the Pandemic. We vote on everything as a board, and we value each other’s thoughts and try and keep everyone safe. In my heart, I think we are going to have the Expo in 2023.
4 What Was the Biggest Obstacle In Keeping the Association’s Monthly Meetings Running?
Dayna: We had just elected many new board members in January 2020, and I had just taken over as President after losing Joe Badamo. I had big enough shoes to fill with his loss, let alone enduring a pandemic. I have to say that our board really stepped up in the worst of times.The biggest obstacle in keeping the JFK Air Cargo Association’s monthly meetings was initially organizing them and choosing the right virtual platform. In recent months, our member companies have begun to allow employee travel, creating additional scheduling conflicts. However, we will survive; we are committed to keeping this organization alive.
5 Did the Pandemic Change the Cargo Industry, and If So, How?
Dayna: Yes, the Pandemic did change the cargo industry. We hear that blame is put on “supply chain issues”; this is totally unfair to the cargo industry. We are the industry that keeps “things moving.” Even with all the delays and obstacles, I commend everyone in our industry because cargo never sleeps. People in the cargo industry are built differently. We adapt; we plan; we wing it when necessary. We do whatever it takes to move freight from point A to point B. I don’t think the public even knew about cargo until the Pandemic, and now, unfortunately, we are blamed for all the supply chain issues. I’m proud to be in this industry, and I appreciate all our modes of transportation and the dedicated people that make it all happen.
The JFK Air Cargo Association focuses on being an informative resource and advocate for the air cargo industry; this doesn’t mean that we don’t accept other industries at our events. For example, we have insurance companies, banks, hotels, and staffing companies regularly attend our meetings. We feel strongly that all businesses can interact within the cargo community and should be encouraged to participate.
We recently redesigned our website, www.jfkaircargo.aero, and will be updating it regularly to keep everyone informed about our upcoming events and current news within the industry.