Main IATA navigation



Modernizing air cargo

Electronic messages have existed since the 1980s but the air cargo industry still relies on paper. A shipment can generate up to 30 paper documents and many of the processes, such as track & trace, still depend on human intervention.


The e-freight program aims to take the paper out of air cargo and to replace it with the exchange of electronic data and messages. Initiated by IATA, the program became an industry-wide initiative involving carriers, freight forwarders, ground handlers, shippers, customs brokers and customs authorities.


The Air Waybill (AWB) is the most important transportation document in air cargo. The electronic Air Waybill (e-AWB), is the first step to realize the e-freight vision. The e-AWB project replaces the paper AWB with an electronic contract of carriage between the freight forwarder and the airline. The new eAWBLink industry tool ​enables small and medium sized forwarders to do e-AWB and join the e-Cargo community. Airports that are e-AWB compatible can also join the e-AWB360 initiative.

Driving change​

IATA supports e-Cargo implementation by developing industry standards and offering guidance and tools that facilitate the adoption of new initiatives.

Workshops & conferences

IATA organizes the annual e-Cargo Conference in Geneva and regular e-Cargo workshops at the local and regional levels. During those events, attendees benefit from a thorough understanding of new e-Cargo initiatives as well as the ability to network with subject matter experts and other industry colleagues.

Business process & standards

In order to remove paper and use electronic messages it is necessary to have common and clear business process and standards, which are the foundations of e-Cargo initiatives.


Moving to e-Cargo requires changes in the technologies used by the air freight stakeholders. IATA is willing to facilitate understanding of key IT requirements necessary to support e-Cargo projects, as well as the solutions and services available.


The e-Cargo Matchmaker is a free of charge web-based tool connecting e-freight and e-AWB stakeholders easily and offering more flexible access to the list of live airports, airlines, freight forwarders and ground handling agents.

Message Improvement Program (MIP)

The IATA Message Improvement Program improves EDI data quality and facilitates the removal of paper documentation.

Need Help?

Contact us
Explore more

Our mission is to represent, lead and serve the airline industry

Additional information