Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Air Freight Supply Chain Process Simplified by New System for Forwarders and Cargo Carriers

Electronic Air Waybill Means One Document for All Parties
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – The International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have announced that the Multilateral Electronic Air Waybill (e-AWB) standard has been approved, removing the need for bilateral e-AWB agreements between airlines and freight forwarders and thus simplifying the air freight supply chain process. Airlines will have a single agreement with IATA that enables them to accept e-AWBs from all participating freight forwarders, while freight forwarders will have a similar agreement that will allow them to tender e-AWB shipments to multiple airlines at numerous airports worldwide. Des Vertannes, IATA’s Global Head of Cargo, said:

“The approval of the multilateral e-AWB agreement is the most important new cargo standard developed in the last two decades. It gives us critical momentum to achieving the e-freight vision of a paperless cargo system.

“[e-freight] is a top focus for the Global Air Cargo Advisory Group [GACAG] which produced a roadmap to coordinate industry efforts. The IATA Board of Governors recognised the importance of the e-AWB to achieving e-freight and set ambitious targets. At the end of 2012 e-AWB penetration was 6.8%. By the end of 2013 the target is 20%. And the big challenge is to reach 100% by the end of 2015.”

Collaborating closely, IATA and FIATA, together with some of their members, developed and tested the multilateral e-AWB standard in 2012. Trials in October 2012 confirmed the value of the new agreement, which was endorsed by the IATA/FIATA Consultative Council in February 2013. Final consent was reached with the approval by the IATA Cargo Services Conference of the multilateral e-AWB as the new IATA Resolution 672 in March. Rudi Sagel, FIATA’s Chairman of the Air Freight Institute, said:

“Freight forwarders and airlines were looking forward to greater simplification when they looked at the e-AWB agreement; now this new multilateral e-AWB agreement allows forwarders to sign only once to connect to all signatory airlines. It means significant progress as joining the multilateral e-AWB agreement provides the legal framework to transmit AWB data electronically to the carrier for AWB completion.”

FIATA and IATA expect the new agreement to be well received by the airline and freight forwarding communities, and will play a major role in increasing take-up of the e-AWB to reach the industry target of 100% penetration by 2015 and both claim that joining the multilateral e-AWB agreement has been made a simple as possible for all concerned.

A comprehensive introduction to the e AWB can be seen HERE whilst interested parties can sign up HERE.