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First e-Cargo conference endorses way forward for e-freight

The first e-Cargo Conference took place on June 26-27, 2012 in Geneva. The theme of the event: “Making e-freight the Industry Standard” attracted over 160 delegates from over 40 countries, comprising a mix of experts, leading practitioners and beginners in the area of e-Cargo.

The Conference focused on the industry goal of building a paperless transportation process, via the e-freight initiative which aims to remove paper from the supply chain transportation process. The conference was structured around the three key e-freight components:

  • Developing the e-freight route network - reviewing the legal and regulatory conditions to allow for the removal of paper documents
  • Digitizing the core industry transport documents, with a particular focus on the electronic Air Waybill and the technology for the exchange of electronic data
  • Digitizing the key commercial and regulatory accompanying documents, including a review of the technology solutions supporting the electronic pouch

Interactive format complemented with high level speakers

The event provided the opportunity to understand the latest e-Cargo developments, in the areas of regulation, standards, business process and technology. The format was interactive: presentations, debates from experts, live questions and new ideas from the floor.

The audience engaged with speakers on subjects such as Cargo Community Systems (CCS) as key enablers of e-freight; technology solutions for small and medium enterprises, Cargo XML as the standard of communication of the future; the e-Shippers Declaration for Dangerous Goods, and the e-Consignment Security Declaration.

Leading local initiatives attracted particular attention. Doris Song Mei Foong, Assistant Director, Air Cargo and Logistics at the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) showed how the e-freight@Singapore initiative led by the CAAS is focusing on educating all stakeholders in the supply chain on the benefits they can derive from e-freight. “What is the key success factor for e-freight? Communication, communication and again communication” said Doris. To help individual companies understand the benefits they stand to gain from e-freight implementation, the CAAS has published a unique Case Benefit Analyzer Tool. This tool can be freely accessed on CAAS website.

Another pioneering initiative was presented by Saskia Van Pelt, Cargo Director Business Development at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Participants were shown how the Schiphol SmartGate Cargo initiative combines the e-freight model of end-to-end electronic data exchange with Smart Card technology to enable paperless acceptance handling for air cargo shipments. Key is successful collaboration involving all parties: the SmartGate project is led jointly by Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, the Dutch Customs Administration and Air Cargo Netherlands.

Collective industry action for e-freight

Des Vertannes, Global Head of Cargo at IATA, summed up the spirit of the conference:  "I am extremely encouraged by the quality of discussions and the large number of companies and countries represented today. Only by collaborating as an industry will we achieve this significant transformation that is e-freight. It is an imperative for our industry and this conference sets a new spirit of collaboration between all parts of the supply chain. I look forward to coming back next year and looking at the progress we will have made together."

Discover the e-Cargo Conference and workshop photos

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