April 18 - Three cargo charter brokers have joined forces to launch the Global Charter Alliance, claiming to be the world's first consortium of independent brokers.

They state their aim is to continue providing highly-personalised service, but with the benefits of a network behind them.

The three founder members of the Global Charter Alliance (GCA) - Pacific Airlift of Singapore, The Charter Storeof the USA, and recently-formed NEO Air Charter of Germany - will work closely together to exploit operational efficiencies, share contacts, market intelligence and other information, leverage collective buying power and benefit from economies of scale.

Owners of the three companies have spent many years working together in their existing and previous companies, but GCA brings new levels of organisation and commitment to their collaboration, they claim.

Explains Andrew Sim, director of Pacific Airlift: "We know each other very well, and have successfully worked together on many projects. The recent launch of NEO by our old friends Adnan 
 and Stefan Kohlmann acted as a catalyst for the creation of GCA, and a way of building our cooperation to the next level."

Adds Harry Steiner, senior partner and co-founder of The Charter Store: "Success in charter broking is all about people, their knowledge and their contacts. GCA starts life with an impressive pool of extremely experienced and capable people who are highly effective as individuals, and will now be even more so as part of a larger team."

Stefan Kohlmann, now joint managing partner of Frankfurt-based NEO, says: "GCA retains the unparalleled dedication and commitment that you only get from people who own their own businesses. It combines this with the benefits of regional coverage and scale that the multinationals enjoy."

GCA says its current membership of GCA provides it with solid coverage of the USA, Asia Pacific and Europe, supplemented by service partners in other parts of the world that enables it to conduct charters to or from any location.

It plans to expand its membership further, but will do so in a carefully-controlled manner, adds Sim: "We all enforce high standards and enjoy excellent reputations, and we are not willing to compromise these by admitting new members who do not meet our strict criteria. Quality is GCA's first priority, and expansion comes second."

GCA added that it has pledged always to respect existing relationships between freight forwarders and their shipper clients.

Says Steiner: "The larger brokers increasingly conduct business with shippers and government entities directly, and so directly compete with freight forwarders. We take a different view: freight agents play a vital role in the supply chain, which we absolutely respect. So we work with them, not against them."

Kohlmann argues'; "The charter market has become dominated by a small number of major players, and we believe this has been detrimental to service standards and competition; neither carriers nor shippers have benefitted. The Global Charter Alliance aims to provide an alternative model, in which size and infrastructure do not replace customer focus, fair deals and competitive pricing."