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​In 2016, more than 50% of the global air trade relied on paper-based processes. A shipment can generate up to 30 paper documents and many of the processes, such as track & trace, still depend on human intervention.

e-freight is an industry-wide program that aims to build an end-to-end paperless transportation process for air cargo made possible through the regulatory framework, modern electronic messages and high quality of data.

An industry-wide effort

Initiated in 2006 and now part of StB Cargo, the program is an industry-wide initiative involving carriers, freight forwarders, ground handlers, shippers, customs brokers and customs authorities. 

The e-freight roadmap outlines a shared end-to-end industry approach to remove three types of documents:

  • Customs documents: engaging regulators and governments worldwide to create an ‘e-freight route network’ with fully electronic customs procedures and where regulations support paperless shipments. 
  • Transport documents: working collaboratively within the cargo supply chain to digitize the core industry transport documents, starting with the Air Waybill (AWB)
  • Commercial & special cargo documents:  developing a plan to digitize the commercial and special cargo documents typically accompanying airfreight today, in or outside of the ‘Cargo pouch.’


The ultimate goal of the e-freight program is to bring benefits to the air cargo industry, including:
  1. Operational efficiency
  2. Cost effectiveness
  3. Data quality
  4. Innovation
  5. Sustainability
  6. Regulatory compliance


For more information on the benefits of e-freight, check out the e-AWB Playbook (pdf)

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