Not long ago, the CEO and president of Maersk put together a leadership conference and a special think tank for the shipping industry. He noted that there were many changes coming forth that could cripple or hurt the industry, and that meant all players in the industry, and all the corporations and major shipping companies, including his own.Amongst their worries were global economic slowdowns, empty cargo containers going one way, pirates and shipping insurance, port expansions, Arctic sea routes, the Panama Canal expansion, fuel costs, and even 3-D printing.Well, I found it interesting that not a lot of the other shipping companies wanted to participate, but they should have because many things affect the entire industry. It wasn’t a matter of colluding on price, that wasn’t at all the issue, nor was that even part of the conceived strategy of an industry think tank. Rather they were just looking at some of the trade winds ahead, and some of the turbulence the industry might experience. It makes sense to plan ahead, and those that fail to plan, are planning to fail.There are a lot of industry mergers and consolidations in the shipping industry, and it hardly matters how things are being shipped, or what is being shipped. What if you are shipping air cargo, and people on airliners, doesn’t the airline industry need a solid think tank to stay aloft in these turbulent economic times? It sure does, and there are many issues concerning the airline industry the least of which is fuel costs, CO2 taxes in Europe, rogue nation states with access to large populated areas and airports with their large airliners, and if you want to talk about mergers and acquisitions, it appears that’s going on in the airline industry as well.Larger airplanes like the A380 Airbus require airport expansion, and are causing bottlenecks with surface transportation at the airports they fly into when they unload a full set of passengers from that double-decker airliner. There are so many things going on in the airline industry it is in a constant state of flux. Just the other day the workers at Boeing were talking about another strike, just as Airbus did a deal with its unions. There are still disputes over state subsidized and guaranteed loans for airliners as unfair competition.The WTO seems to get constantly bombarded with complaints from industry as to the misdeeds of their competitors whether intentional are not. While many countries are trying to prop up various industries to maintain jobs, they also end up subsidizing components of the airline industry which is throwing a wrench into free markets and global free trade. But that’s hardly all that is going on, what about all the new technology?For instance, shape shifting materials, hypersonic transportation, all carbon airliners, flying wing concepts, or some of these new ultra-efficient designs for the future? What about new concepts for global aircraft control and safety? Yes, I think the airline industry needs a think tank, how about you?