Plenty To See

After two months of steady trade show travels, we continue to see how wrong the notion is that there’s nothing new in GSE.

Last September, we traveled to Las Vegas and talked with a couple of new tire companies that had either not been in the GSE market before or hadn’t brought their products to North America. We saw one electric GSE manufacturer present a new gas-powered tractor. And we saw another fossil-fueled GSE manufacturer present a new electric tractor. We sat in on a discussion that demonstrated how even PCA ducting and adapters can be “new and improved.”

The big topic of discussion we heard throughout the show was on the installation of seat belts in GSE. Recall the big news earlier this year when Delta agreed to install seat belts on all its GSE following the death of a ground handler.

About the only issue left to debate is on when a driver wouldn’t need to be belted. In some cases, it might be safer to be able to jump clear of the vehicle and do it fast. Some raised the death of a Southwest ground handler who died when his vehicle collided with a passenger transport bus as an example. Then again, others pointed out that the worker no doubt wasn’t wearing a seat belt anyway.

A week later, we were off to Atlanta and learned how one company uses Kevlar, normally the stuff of bullet-proof vests, to make lighter cargo containers. And we visited with another company using a water-proof barrier that’s underneath the siding of most every new home built in the past few decades to insulate those same containers.

On the last leg of our show tour, we met a company making modern-day blimps capable of carrying cargo to the most remote locations. (And by the way, if you ever want to travel to Stuttgart and buy a Porsche right off the assembly line, we know the guys that can ship it back. Plus, if you find yourself in Conakry, we know the people who can organize the ground handling.)

Finally, at the end of October, we headed to Orlando. There we saw one GSE manufacturer display a better way to tow aircraft. Three fueling truck manufacturers told us about their own versions of what’s new. For one it was making a testing facility at its headquarters that much better. Another discussed a cloud-based way of tracking deliveries. Still one more showed us a diagnostic cable that can save mechanics time to trouble-shoot.

We even learned how an electric GSE maker is testing a diesel-powered unit that might be able to power itself … or something to that effect since we just as quickly learned that it was a military project that couldn’t be discussed. (You didn’t hear it from us.)

Somewhere in all those trips, we also hosted our first webinar with IATA on IGOM, which attracted almost 400 people from around the world to register for the free event.

If the AHM is “what” to do, the IGOM is “how” to do it. The main idea is to provide a single industry manual that standardizes procedures, which ISAGO can audit. Undoubtedly, the key benefit of IGOM is to improve ramp safety.

The webinar is archived and can be found at by clicking on the “Media Center” tab and scrolling down to “Webcasts.”