Sunday, January 27, 2013

Roadmap for e-Freight Proposed by Air Cargo Forwarders, Carriers and Shippers Takes Shape

Paperless Shipments are a Worthy Goal
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE - The Global Air Cargo Advisory Group (GACAG) the joint mission by FIATA, GSF, IATA and TIACA to present a unified voice and method for the air freight industry has turned up the pressure in the past few weeks to ensure the air cargo sector achieves its one hundred percent target for electronic airway bills by the end of 2015. GACAG, representing as it does freight forwarders, shippers, carriers and policymakers, means it offers a rarely seen intent by an entire supply chain to a achieve mutual target and to this end the organisation has laid out a ‘roadmap’ for reaching its goal consisting of a three part scheme to try and ensure complete success.

The three components to achieving 100% e-AWB capability are firstly to persuade governments and regulators that all routes have e-freight capability including suitable customs processes. Next it will be necessary to digitize all airway bills and then any other documents by collaborating with all stakeholders in the supply chain. Finally to formulate a plan to digitize the commercial and special cargo documents typically accompanying airfreight today, in or outside of the ‘cargo pouch’, an item which ideally the GACAG members would prefer to see the demise of.

We have of course all seen the result of the promised ‘paperless office’ but the air freight community is largely determined to ensure that a e-freight network is constructed as soon as practical, thus streamlining and standardising cargo transfer procedures which GACAG believe will lead to faster, safer consignments. To this end the group has come up with that 100% e-AWB target and additionally aims to have paperless core transportation documents installed on 80% of the world’s air trade lanes where it believes cargo pouches will, for the first time in history, become redundant. Michael Steen, chairman of GACAG, commented:

“This new roadmap will form the basis to manage the e-freight initiative moving forward and fully integrates the work done previously in the context of the e-freight project. It also identifies a number of areas where further work needs to be done in collaboration between the different associations that are members of GACAG and that represent the entire air cargo supply chain. This work includes standards, business process and other areas.”

Photo: Sample eAWB from the two and a half year study undertaken in 1999 into an evaluation of an electronic air cargo security and logistics system as part of ITS – the Intelligent Transport Systems program of the US Department of Transportation.