Online trade is a growth driver for the air cargo industry. It creates an increasing need for speed, visibility, and easy returns, all of which impact the logistics chain.
The air cargo industry is transforming to capitalize on e-commerce by building global standards, creating partnerships, and fostering innovation. Air cargo is a crucial enabler for online trade, opening more and more opportunities for new digital business models.
- Read the IATA e-Commerce Monitor (pdf) to get the latest insights on how COVID-19 impacts online retail.
Air cargo serving e-commerce
Online shoppers have managed to become the center of attention for e-Tailers, making e-commerce a consumer-centric business. Should a company fail to meet its customers' needs, it will most probably lose them to the competition. Consumers are browsing the world wide web for a wider offer, and when they buy they expect high-speed shipping, transparency, reliability, agility, and consistency in the delivery.
As air cargo is an essential component of cross-border e-Commerce, airlines need to transform to meet the needs of the shippers.
IATA works to advise the industry and enhance their understanding of the opportunities and challenges that exist. This includes anticipating online consumer and e-tailer needs so airlines can capitalize on e-commerce growth.
IATA also ensures the air cargo industry has the right regulations, standards, and global framework to offer the right logistics solutions for the e-commerce retail industry.
- The e-commerce logistics landscape (pdf) December 2020
- The e-commerce impact in air cargo operations (pdf) November 2020
- Air cargo e-commerce & COVID-19 impact (pdf) October 2020
e-Commerce White Paper
Find out how the air cargo industry is addressing e-commerce and IATA's role in driving these initiatives in the Air Cargo serving e-commerce (pdf) white paper.
Areas of transformation
IATA, including Cargo iQ, is driving change in the air cargo industry by simplifying the business and embracing new initiatives and technologies. Our objective is to make air cargo easier, faster and smarter.
We have identified eight areas for transformation:
Safety & Security
Strengthen safety and security for air cargo
and airmail (manage e-commerce traffic
flows while maintaining and improving safety
and security record). A code of conduct and
safety guidelines to ensure that no prohibited
items will be inserted in the air cargo supply
Encourage the industry to embrace new
technologies that will ensure greater
visibility, transparency, and efficiency.
Data sharing to allow better planning and
contingencies, introducing automated
processes, AI, AR, and robotics in the
cargo facility to enhance speed.
New business enhancements
Monitor new and emerging trends to call for
and promote stronger industry coordination.
Operations & Infrastructure
Simplify processes, optimize flows, and speed up the transaction, introducing industry best practices based on stakeholder requirements.
Customs & Trade Facilitation
Encourage trade facilitation and border procedures aligned to international standards using modern approaches.
A paperless supply chain, smarter use of packaging and other materials for sustainable goals.
Stakeholder engagement, community creation
Increase the level of engagement with both major and emerging e-commerce players to capture needs, challenges and guide relevant global industry standards development.
Data, Economics, and Insights
Use data to provide industry insights on e-commerce and create lobbying positions.
Strengthen safety and security for air cargo and airmail
Safety and security must be further enhanced with stronger collaboration and compliance with programs related to training, trusted partner identification, regulations, and best practices.
- Mail Safety Guidelines
- e-Commerce Framework of Standards
Embrace new technologies that will ensure greater visibility, transparency, and efficiency
Technology will enable the air cargo industry to respond to e-commerce needs.
Simplify processes, optimize flows and speed up the transaction
Strengthening the value proposition will be crucial for airlines, forwarders and ground handlers to support and capitalize on e-commerce growth.
Engage with e-commerce players and promote stronger industry coordination
IATA is closely collaborating with international organizations, corporations, freight forwarders, and online retailers. The objective is to make e-commerce a comfortable experience for consumers and a seamless experience for operations professionals.