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10 New Year's Resolutions for Air Cargo

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​​​​As we head into 2017 we look at opportunities for development and ways in which we can enhance customer service.

Below is a list of the top 10 New Year's resolutions the air cargo industry should commit to this year:

1. Embrace e-Commerce growth

e-Commerce grew 23.7% in 2016.Online sales are on the increase, demand is high as well as the need for quick delivery, which creates a significant opportunity for air cargo. In order to experience the full benefits of e-Commerce the industry needs to evolve and develop quality-focused, customer-centric, on-demand supply chain solutions that provide enhanced shipping quality and service, and greater visibility and predictability across the supply chain.

2. Remove paper

Today one air cargo shipment can still require up to 30 pieces of paper. The industry needs to accelerate the implementation of end-to-end paperless transportation processes through implementation of programs such e-freight and e-AWB. The current e-AWB penetration is 48.9% (Dec 2016) the target for end 2017 is 62%.

3. Enhance the movement of trade

A recent IATA study showed that a 1% increase in air cargo connectivity was associated with a 6.3% increase in a country's total trade. The industry needs to work together to pressure governments to ratify necessary legislative priorities to enhance the movement of trade such as MC99, the revised Kyoto Convention and the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).

4. Standardized processes for transport of time and temperature sensitive goods

In 2014 the transport of time and temperature-sensitive goods such as pharmaceuticals was estimated to be worth $8.36 billion and it is projected to rise to $10.28 billion by 2018. The industry needs to work towards globally consistent, recognized and standardized certification for pharma shipments such as CEIV pharma in air freight to address the concerns identified in the supply chain, especially those of pharmaceutical shippers.

5. Collaborate to combat illegal trafficking

The fourth most lucrative global trafficking crime after drugs, humans and arms is wildlife - valued at up to US$19 billion. The illegal trafficking of wildlife products, including many iconic and endangered species is an issue the industry needs to collaboratively fight against through better information sharing and the implementation of risk management controls at borders.

6. Eliminate rogue lithium batteries shippers

Regulators, airlines, forwarders and manufacturers have worked hard to establish rules that ensure lithium batteries can be carried safely. But due to the actions of a minority of rogue shippers confidence in the transport of Lithium Batteries by air has been undermined. Government authorities must step up and take responsibility for prosecuting rogue producers and exporters.

7. One digital language

Achieving alignment in messaging standards across the industry will help trade grow, improve security and help to ensure that the millions of tonnes of air cargo transported reach the consumer more easily. Cargo-XML, the next generation messaging standard which provides better data quality and simplifies the electronic data interchange between airlines and other air cargo stakeholders, should be adopted across the industry.

8. Implement piece level tracking 

Keeping the customer happy is the key to success for any industry. The key to perfect air cargo performance is piece level tracking, which can keep logistics firms and customers fully aware of the location of all parts of the shipment at all times.

9. Stay positive

Protectionist rhetoric is increasing, world trade is flat lining and the global economic outlook remains uncertain so one could be forgiven for predicting a tough year for air cargo in 2017. However, growth was positive in the final months of the year and there are a number of encouraging signs for a positive 2017. The industry needs to focus on taking advantage of the growth in e-Commerce, time and temperature sensitive goods and Global Value Chain (GVC) trade.

10. Never forget

Air cargo is key in supporting the current global trading system. In 2016, airlines transported 53.9 million metric tons of goods, representing about 35% of global trade by value. That is equivalent to US $5.6 trillion worth of goods annually, or US $15.3 billion worth of goods every day.

Many of the topics above will be discussed at the 11th edition of the World Cargo Symposium, March 14-16, 2017 being held in Abu Dhabi. The event will also include the second edition of the IATA Innovation Awards, where the winning entry, judged by the symposium audience will be awarded up to USD 20k to help get their idea, solution or product into the marketplace.  Find out more about WCS and Innovation Awards.

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