E-freight is an industry-wide initiative involving carriers, freight forwarders, ground handlers, shippers, customs brokers and customs authorities. E-freight aims to build an end-to-end paperless transportation process for air cargo through a regulatory framework, electronic messages and high data quality.
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" where customs procedures are fully electronic and 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 air freight today, in or out of the "cargo pouch".
The Air Waybill (AWB) is a critical air cargo document that constitutes the contract of carriage between the “shipper” and the “carrier” (airline). The Electronic Air Waybill Resolution 672 (MeA) removes the requirement for a paper AWB. There is therefore no longer a need to print, handle or archive the paper, largely simplifying the air cargo process.
e-AWB is now the default contract of carriage
Nine years after its introduction in 2010, e-AWB became the default contract of carriage for all air cargo shipments on enabled trade lanes on 1 January 2019. This key industry milestone brings air cargo into a new era where digital processes are now the norm and paper is the exception.
Interested in starting your e-AWB roll out?
- Download the new e-AWB implementation playbook (pdf)
- Download the latest e-AWB Global SOP (pdf)
- Download the guidelines on best practice (pdf)
e-AWB performance and results
Modernizing air cargo communication
The IATA Cargo-XML messaging is emerging as a preferred standard for the electronic communication between airlines and other air cargo stakeholders such as shippers, freight forwarders, ground-handling agents, and regulators, as well as customs and security agencies. This new standard is based on multimodal and cross-border messaging and aims to:
- Facilitate cargo business processes
- Fulfill customs requirements for Advanced Cargo Information (ACI) filing
- Comply with security regulations like e-CSD
The white paper Air Cargo Digital Connectivity & Data Exchange Methodologies (pdf) provides a guide for the air cargo industry towards efficiently connecting and exchanging digital information across the supply chain.
The preferred messaging standard
Industry’s call on Cargo Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) was to freeze Cargo-IMP messages by end of 2014 and encourage the use of Cargo-XML messages. Cargo-IMP messages can still be used in the industry but IATA stopped enhancing this standard. This implies that:
- The last edition of Cargo-IMP Manual (34th edition) was published at the end of 2014
- New upgrades will only be conducted in the equivalent Cargo-XML Messages
- IATA will only maintain the Cargo-XML Manual and Toolkit
Cargo-IMP to Cargo-XML migration
Read more about the differences between Cargo-IMP and Cargo-XML Messages (pdf).
Cargo-XML AutoCheck Tool
IATA is committed to fostering industry adoption of Cargo-XML standards. For this purpose, air cargo industry stakeholders, those implementing the Cargo-XML standards will be able to validate their Cargo-XML messages using IATA's Cargo-XML AutoCheck tool, for free.
This automated solution will allow industry stakeholders to validate their Cargo-XML messages through a portal service without involving a partner. The ultimate goal is to facilitate the Cargo-XML rollout and allow the industry to validate messages syntax and eventually business rules.
If you are an airline, freight forwarder, ground handler or an IT service provider, and are moving towards Cargo-XML as your messaging standard, Cargo-XML AutoCheck will be an invaluable tool during both your development and once you've gone live.
Register and validate for free
To register and begin validating your messages please go to the IATA Cargo-XML AutoCheck Portal
Cargo Messaging Working Group
The IATA Cargo Messaging Working Group (formerly known as the Cargo-XML Task Force) develops the Cargo-XML messages and standards by reusing the components from the United Nations Center for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business core component library. The Cargo-XML Manual and Toolkit publishes the Cargo-XML messages, in accordance with the Cargo Services Conference (CSC) Resolution 670 and Recommended Practice 1675.
- For more details, check out the full list of Cargo-XML messages (pdf).
Towards 100% data quality
The Message Improvement Program (MIP) started in 2007 as part of an e-freight initiative to track the performance of EDI messaging between freight forwarders and airlines. This program is opt-in based and free-of-charge, currently open to airlines and freight forwarders only.
Today, there are over 70 participants, of which some of the leading airlines and forwarders worldwide. MIP processes about 2 million records of data every month from airlines only, producing over 1000 different confidential reports for its participants, as well as an industry reports of which the monthly e-freight and e-AWB reports.
The current scope is to measure the performance of the electronic message equivalents to the Air Waybills and House Waybills (respectively the FWB and FHL for Cargo-IMP, and XFWB and XFHL/XFZB for Cargo-XML), where the following are being measured:
- Message penetration
- Message rejections
- Message duplications
- Syntax errors
- Business data quality/errors on every single field of data (200+)
- Process errors
To support the broader adoption of e-cargo and IATA’s new ONE Record initiative, IATA is working on an extended version of MIP that will:
- Open up to ground handlers, Cargo Community Systems (CCS), solutions providers and other stakeholders.
- Cover additional critical electronic messages like status, error and feedback messages.
- Collect more details on shipment data to further increase MIP’s value.
- Collect shipment data from all participants, allowing data congruence analysis and troubleshooting between peers.
- Provide new, revamped reports and intelligence focusing on today’s and tomorrow’s critical metrics.
- Allow self-service reporting.
How to join?
To join MIP, write to firstname.lastname@example.org with your company name and contact details.
Electronic Dangerous Goods Shipper's Declaration (e-DGD)
The air cargo industry recognized the need for a digital and paperless process to manage the IATA Dangerous Goods Shipper's Declaration (DGD) among various stakeholders in the air cargo supply chain.
Changes incorporated in 2009 in the ICAO Technical Instructions enable and support the use of electronic data for DGD, which can be shared using, for example, the IATA Cargo XML standard (XSDG) developed for the industry.
The e-DGD is an electronic approach to manage the IATA DGD, leveraging industry initiatives to digitalize data and embrace data sharing platform principles.
Data is made available on the data sharing platform by the data owner and is accessible to whoever requires it depending on the roles and responsibilities in the supply chain. The data-sharing platform principle allows for a close collaboration between all stakeholders, including shippers, forwarders, carriers, ground handling agents and third party providers.
In March 2018, the IATA Cargo Services Conference endorsed the principles of data sharing platform for e-DGD with the adoption of a policy item.
- Increased data quality
- More transparency and traceability
- Reduced number of errors and delays
- Leaner and faster DG processes
- Improved customer experience
Find out more about the Electronic Dangerous Goods Shipper's Declaration (e-DGD)
The Multilateral e-AWB Agreement, IATA Resolution 672 (doc), provides a single standard agreement that airlines and freight forwarders can sign once with IATA and start doing e-AWB with all other parties to the agreement.
This is NOT an IATA code. If you would like to register for an IATA Code, please visit the cargo accreditation site
How to join?
To update the list of airports and/or change your designated contact complete the Airline Submission Form (doc) and send it to IATA (same address as for joining).
IMPORTANT: ACTIVATION NOTICE
IMPORTANT: ACTIVATION NOTICE
For purposes of the multilateral e-AWB agreement (IATA Resolution 672), an affiliate is defined as any company whom the freight forwarder is authorized to enter into the agreement on their behalf, and to bind them to the obligations set forth therein. It could be branch offices located in the same country, and also associated companies in other countries.
After joining the IATA Multilateral e-AWB Agreement, freight forwarders can add new affiliate offices, remove currently registered offices, as well as update company name and address details. IATA now offers an automated self-service tool using online forms and integrated e-sign process.
For more information, see new online tool quick reference guide (pdf)
The designated contact is your company's representative(s) to be contacted by airlines and IATA for matters related to multilateral e-AWB agreement (Resolution 672), including receipt of Notices pursuant to Article 3.1 of the agreement.
After joining the IATA Multilateral e-AWB Agreement, freight forwarders can add new deisganted contacts as well as change currently registered designated contacts. IATA now offers an automated self-service tool using online forms and integrated e-sign process.
For more information, see new online tool quick reference guide (pdf)
- Introduction to the multilateral e-AWB agreement (pdf) (Resolution 672)
- FIATA-IATA joint statement on the new multilateral e-AWB agreement (pdf)
- Quick Reference Guide (pdf)- Multilateral e-AWB Agreement reports on Matchmaker
Industry Associations supporting the Multilateral e-AWB Agreement
Connecting e-Cargo partners
The e-Cargo Matchmaker is a free web-based tool offering e-freight and e-AWB stakeholders easier and more flexible access to the list of live airports, locations, airlines, freight forwarders and ground handling agents.
For more information, download the e-Cargo Matchmaker User Guide (pdf).
Objectives and benefits
- Increases visibility: at a click of a mouse all e-freight and e-AWB participants have access to information on live locations, airports, airlines, freight forwarders and ground handling agents
- Increases timeliness of information: data is available to all as soon as it is entered by stakeholders
- Increases data accuracy and time savings: users can instantly retrieve customized reports with an increased level of data accuracy as the tool is updated by the industry for the industry
- Puts power in your own hands: e-freight and e-AWB participants maintain their data and populate their implementation plans directly in the live system
- Connects you with your partners: encourages e-Cargo industry stakeholders to connect with each other via the incorporated messaging system for the purpose of jointly implementing e-freight and/or e-AWB
Who can use it?
- Public users (no registration needed): all cargo industry stakeholders can access and use existing information on live e-freight and e-AWB locations, airports, airlines, freight forwarders and ground handling agents
- Registered users (registration needed): airlines, freight forwarders and ground handling agents are given the means and full control to inform their business partners about their current status and future plans for e-freight and e-AWB implementation