International Air Transport Association

The e-freight pilot programmes are moving forward at a solid pace.

Participants have entered a new phase of the pilot process, which is gearing up for implementation.

In the initial elaboration phase, which ranged from February to June this year, the five core pilot workgroups (Canada, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Singapore and the United Kingdom) examined local business processes as well as the technical and legal/regulatory environments. This helped them to update business processes, allowing them to remove paper documents for paper-free shipments in the trade lanes that link the pilot locations.

From this important groundwork comes guidelines for e-freight pilots, defining which paper documents should be removed from the transportation process, what types of freight will be included in the pilot programme and which participants will support what trade lanes.

In this phase, specific operating procedures applicable to each trade lane will be developed, remaining business, legal, and technical questions will be solved, processes will be tested in a controlled environment, operations staff will be trained, and the specific 'go live' steps mapped out.

The step-by-step plan for these tasks is under development and will be validated by the Pilot Central Action Group meeting in Hong-Kong on July 25th. The target date to go live is the end of 2007.

Pilot workgroups have also initiated work in the benchmark locations of Sweden and Mauritius, where best practices can be assessed, based on existing procedures already in place. Benefiting from the experience of the other pilot workgroups, the Sweden and Mauritius participants aim to conduct their own elaboration phase in a couple of months and catch up with the core pilot locations with an aim to go live at the same time.