e-AWB: Global Standard, Regional Delivery
Developed in collaboration with industry stakeholders, the e-air waybill initiative is a step towards air cargo evolution with the removal of the paper air waybill. To date, we estimate that 8.1% of the air waybills issued monthly are trasmitted electronically without use of paper.
8% equates to c. 130’000 documents. To achieve greatest transformation, the industry needs to adopt the e-AWB on a larger scale. This can happen through a collaborative and creative approach: the air cargo partners need to work together and find solutions that are applicable to each market. The roll-out of e-AWB will not be a one-size-fits-all strategy, but a combination of local success stories.
Paperless transformation is led by Customs in France
In France for instance, e-AWB adoption is led by the Customs authorities. Last July, the regional division of CDG-Roissy Cargo Customs launched a pilot program to make the paperless vision a reality. Air France, Emirates, Delta Airlines and Singapore Airlines participated and will therefore use e-AWB from Paris CDG to Dubai, Newark and Singapore.
This program is also supported by WFS, the major ground handler, and the three influential freight forwarders Rohlig, Panalpina and SDV. The success will certainly come from the involvement of every key player: the Air Cargo Interprofessional Committee (CIF), the French freight forwarders’ association (TLF), the cargo airlines’ associations (SYCAFF), the Cargo Information Network (CIN) and IATA.
The Mexican wave
Did you know that 142’000 air waybills are issued from Mexico every month? 29’000 of them are to the US. During the Freight Forwarder Day organized by the Mexican Association of Cargo Agents (AMACARGA), the participants were introduced to the new Multilateral e-AWB Agreement (MeA). Since then, 52 Mexican agents have joined the MeA. This Mexican wave of MeA participants will hopefully create an e-AWB tsunami in the following months!
The MeA was approved in April 2013 to help airlines and freight forwarders to sign-up for the e-AWB agreement, a preliminary step before using e-AWB. The MeA provides a single standard agreement that airlines and their cargo agents can sign once with IATA instead of signing multiple bi-lateral agreements. To date, 211 freight forwarders and 44 airlines have joined the MeA. Have you?