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e-AWB on top of the Cargo Services Conference (CSC) agenda

The next IATA Cargo Services Conference (CSC) will consider revisions to the current bi-lateral e-AWB (electronic air waybill) agreement and will also discuss the potential development of the new multilateral e-AWB agreement.

The 34th meeting of the CSC will take place on the 12 March in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Bilateral e-AWB Agreement review

In 2009 and 2010 IATA and FIATA successfully worked together to develop a “model agreement for electronic data interchange (EDI)”. This model would replace the traditional paper air waybill which was adopted by the Cargo Service Conference as Recommended Practice 1670 (RP1670).

One year after the signature of the first e-AWB agreements between the pilot participants, IATA collected feedback from them. Two main changes have been identified in order to bring benefits to the airlines and freight forwarders:

1. The possibility for an airline to print and sign the paper AWB on behalf the shipper/freight forwarder based on electronic data submitted by the shipper/freight forwarder for the Warsaw routes.

The current version of the EDI Agreement is strictly for non-Warsaw routes, which mean that shippers/freight forwarders have to produce, print, handle and archive paper AWB for the Warsaw routes.

2. The ability to conclude cargo contracts on behalf of the shipper/freight forwarder clients (also known as direct shipments).

The current version of the EDI Agreement is strictly an agreement between a shipper and a carrier. It does not cater for instances where the freight forwarder “cuts” a paper air waybill on behalf of its shipper client, which is a common industry practice nowadays.

The proposed revisions to the e-AWB Agreement was reviewed during the recent IATA/FIATA Consultative Council (IFCC) meeting held in Geneva during 13-14 February. The feedback from the IFCC will be considered by the CSC during the discussions on 12 March.   

New e-AWB Multilateral Agreement

Since the introduction of the bilateral e-AWB agreement, several freight forwarders have stated that signing multiple EDI Agreements with various airlines they tendered cargo to, was too onerous and too costly.

After discussions with the IATA Cargo Committee and industry stakeholders, IATA considered that the development of a multilateral agreement could better facilitate the process by increasing the number of freight forwarders and airlines engaging in e-AWB shipments.

The Conference will discuss the principles of the e-AWB multilateral agreement and the approach to be adopted. The e-AWB Multilateral Agreement approach was also reviewed by the IFCC and the IFCC feedback will be considered by the CSC during the discussions on 12 March.

About the CSC

CSC is a permanent and autonomous body consisting of representatives from IATA Member airlines. The CSC is responsible for the development and maintenance of standards and procedures for the cargo industry.
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