In the spirit of transparency, one of the many values that unite Air Cargo Week (ACW) and the new leadership team, Steven Polmans shares, in his own words, how his 25+ years of air cargo expertise across the globe and the industry is the ideal fit for this new role.
Maintaining the comprehensive coverage that has made ACW a staple of the industry, Polmans is excited to take on the challenge of driving positive change alongside the publication’s long-standing editorial team.
“Fostering collaboration to drive the industry forward.”
“My motivation is driven by my passion for the air cargo industry and a desire to contribute to its evolution,” Polmans explained.
“Throughout my career, I have been deeply committed to fostering collaboration to drive the industry forward. Air Cargo Week plays a crucial role in facilitating knowledge exchange and driving conversations about the industry’s challenges and opportunities, the first step in building a stronger air cargo ecosystem.”
“By heading Air Cargo Week, I see immense potential to continue its vital role of bringing the air cargo community together. I’m really excited to start something new, something that is also pushing me beyond my personal boundaries.”
Taking on the role at ACW, Polmans will be focused on creating insightful and thought-provoking content that address the rapidly changing landscape of the cargo industry, with a particular emphasis on sustainability, digitalisation, and emerging trends.
“To be clear, my main concentration will be strategy. I’m not a journalist and do not plan nor have the ambition to become one,” he explained. “As MD, I will bolster the already exceptional work of the current editorial team by providing additional support and resources.”
Air Cargo Week’s commitment to delivering valuable and engaging content combined with his passion for bringing the air cargo community together makes this role a perfect fit for Polmans.
“Together, we can ensure that the newspaper continues to play a crucial role in shaping a brighter future for the air cargo industry and all its stakeholders,” he continued.
‘My vision is to use Air Cargo Week as a catalyst for the industry’s advancement.’
Filling the void left by Norman Bamford’s widely-respected leadership of A-Z Group and Air Cargo Week, Polmans will bring significant added value through his industry experience, wide-ranging expertise and vast network.
“Having worked in many countries and across different disciplines for twenty-five years, I can bring the entire sector closer to Air Cargo Week and Air Cargo Week closer to the business,” Polmans stated. “ I’m known for my ‘collaboration drives positive transformation’ ethos. In fact, a colleague once said that my business card should read ‘bringing people together.’”
Throughout his career, Polmans has always strived for improvement, collaborating with others to find the best solutions in a positive way.
For instance, when he became the Chair of TIACA, the association was in troubled water. To avoid it losing its purpose, he proposed finding a new approach to spark growth. With the stakeholders, they rebranded and revitalised TIACA to be the leading air cargo association.
“There are always opportunities – and by working with people, you’ll find them,” Polmans added.
“My vision is to use Air Cargo Week as a catalyst for the industry’s advancement. Most importantly, we will inform and brief the industry with invaluable information and contributions in a timely and efficient manner,” Polmans said.
“Through thoughtful reporting and insightful commentary, we can foster a spirit of collaboration among stakeholders, driving collective efforts towards a more performant and sustainable air cargo industry,” he laid out.
Under its new leadership, ACW will continue to address challenges head-on, promote responsible practices, and seize emerging opportunities to strengthen the air cargo ecosystem, making it even more robust and efficient.
“With the team, we will evaluate what is good and what we want to keep, and where improvements are needed,” Polmans revealed. “We might want to drive changes that align with the magazine’s vision, such as incorporating more digital content formats, increasing engagement with the audience, and exploring innovative ways to foster collaboration within the industry. At the same time, we want to preserve and strengthen the newspaper’s core values, reliable reporting, impartiality, and commitment to delivering timely and insightful analysis.”
As ACW looks towards the future, the publication will delve into broader business themes, offering a fresh perspective that resonates with each reader’s daily experiences in the sector.
Beyond technical and industry news, ACW will explore economical and societal topics that impact people’s lives, such as sustainability, which ACW will cover across the board – via people (i.e., inclusion), planet (the environment), and profit (how better sustainability practices can improve the bottom line.)
ACW will also enhance its globally-respected awards, amplifying their position in the industry as a benchmark of success and exploring how to make the selection process more transparent to broaden the field of winners.
‘Transparent and ethical behaviour are a priority.’
With its new managing director, ACW will work together as a team to ensure the newspaper maintains its leading role in shaping a brighter future for the air cargo sector.
“In 2016, I launched Air Cargo Belgium to unite the airfreight community at Brussels Airport. At first, each stakeholder had their arms crossed at the table. I built up trust by being transparent and balancing their needs,” Polmans explained. “My philosophy as an airport was, ‘How can we be the glue that sticks us to each other and the lubricant that ensures the stakeholders aren’t in conflict?’ I explained to each entity – including the airlines, handlers, and airport authority – that my job was to grow a bigger cake and you guys should compete for each slice. And preferably a nice chocolate cake we could all benefit from.”
“Those who’ve worked with me before can confirm that transparent and ethical behaviour has always been a priority,” Polmans added. “As Director of Cargo and Logistics at Brussels Airport and Chairman of Air Cargo Belgium at the same time, it was a daily task to stay neutral and manage different conflicting situations in everyone’s best interest and in a way that didn’t escalate conflict.”
To effectively manage neutrality, Polmans emphasised Air Cargo Week’s commitment to ethical journalism and transparent reporting.
“The most important thing will be to maintain editorial independence and ensure unbiased coverage. All stakeholders will be treated equally,” he stated. “When you manage cargo at an airport, you represent 200 companies that are often competitors. If you aren’t transparent, you will make enemies instead of friends. The same goes for a trade publication, a trade association chairman or so many roles in business.”
With this commitment to the industry and unbiased, transparent reporting, Polmans will remain in his voluntary role as Chair of TIACA until, at least, November, when elections are held.
‘An essential bridge”
“I believe the media has a crucial role to serve as a platform for exchanging knowledge, supporting best practices, and promoting innovative ideas,” Polmans said. “It is an essential bridge that connects various stakeholders and disseminates important information.”
Regarding the evolution of media in the industry, ACW will need to adapt to the changing world, digital trends, social media platforms, and the increasing demand for real-time information.
“Embracing digital platforms while preserving journalistic ethics is key to staying relevant and maintaining the trust of our readers.”
Taking on the role effective immediately, Polmans is ready to sit down with the team, as well as stakeholders across the airfreight sector, listening to what they want to see from the industry’s leading publication.
“I’m keen to learn from them, not pretending that I have all the answers already, and I’m excited to share our vision, ensuring a smooth transition” Polmans added. “I’m looking forward to having a beer with the team and getting to know them better, as we chart ACW’s future together!”
READ MORE ABOUT ACW’S FUTURE HERE: ACW enters a new era