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Call for Air Cargo Modernization

IATA hosted its 73rd Annual General Meeting in Cancun, Mexico in June, reuniting its 275 airline members, from over 117 countries, representing 83% of the world’s air traffic. During this large event, all IATA members unanimously adopted a resolution calling to accelerate the modernization and transformation of the air cargo industry. The resolution addresses many aspects of the air cargo industry, such as smart regulation to enhance safety and security, modern and harmonised standards, as well as enhanced technology to provide data-on-demand, real-time tracking, and transparent information. The resolution also reinforces the role of IATA’s transformation program Simplifying the Business (StB) Cargo, launched in December 2016. 

The StB Cargo program is leading several initiatives to embrace digitalization in the air cargo industry and provide customers with greater visibility, further driving the industry towards a more customer-oriented and modern approach. 

e-freight and e-AWB

5 projects currently exist within StB Cargo. The first project, e-freight & e-AWB, focuses on the development and implementation of end-to-end paperless transportation processes for air cargo. e-AWB penetration is now above 50%, and efforts have been underway on other e-freight efforts. eAWB360 focuses on encouraging airlines, freight forwarders and ground handlers to adopt e-AWB, as well as building stakeholder readiness at selected airports. 

This project is based on 3 pillars: implementing Single Process, having a common Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for all airport stakeholders and have coordinated communication to promote the use of the e-AWB for shipping cargo from eAWB360 airports. 

In 2016 eAWB360 has been launched at 21 high volume cargo airports supported by 21 leading e-AWB airlines. In 2017 the eAWB360 campaign continues with 16 additional airports, supported by 22 participating airlines. 

Finally, eAWBlink is a tool created for small and medium-sized freight forwarders to become e-AWB capable simply and easily, with already more than 60 customers so far. Join us at the e-Cargo conference in September to find out more about e-AWB and e-freight programs.

Digital Cargo

Another StB Cargo project is Digital Cargo, which goes beyond e-freight, aiming to replace basic peer-to-peer messaging with smart data sharing. The aim is to have a master Digital Shipment Record (DSR) and propose a single data methodology (Single input, multiple output). The Cargo Technology Working Group was launched in Q1 2017 to discuss the simplification and improvement of data sharing in air cargo. The aim is to building standards which will support smart data sharing in air cargo.

Interactive Cargo

Interactive Cargo aims to make cargo talk, with real-time interaction and responsive services based on intelligent systems for air cargo clients. The technologies would be able to self-monitor, send real-time alerts, respond to deviations to meet customers' expectations and report on the cargo journey to allow data-driven improvements. IATA collaborates with CargoIQ on this project, helping drive quality air cargo. The first step, launched this year, is with standard-setting activities, through the new Piece Level Tracking Working Group, focusing on piece level tracking and wireless technologies (sensors, data loggers). The aim is to have a Recommended Practice by the end of the year.

Smart Facility 

The Smart Facility initiative is designed to enhance ground handling service quality through self-assessment and independent verification audit programs, aligned with the enhanced IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) program. Also, it will encourage improving the quality of ground handling services through the adoption of known best practices. The first pillar of the project, the self-assessment Smart Facility checklist, is already available for download. The second and third pillars are currently under investigation. They are the Optional Readiness Assessment of a facility to identify gaps prior to a complete validation, and the optional onsite 3rd Party verification where certified, independent auditors would be sent onsite for a formal verification. 

Air Cargo Incidents Database (ACID)

Finally, the Air Cargo Incidents Database (ACID) was launched this year. ACID would be a database of de-identified airline incident reports which will offer a secure environment for airlines and ground handlers to pool safety and operations information. This database would enable the latter to have a proactive data-driven approach for advanced trend analysis, so as to mitigate risks and avoiding incidents in the future. This program is at the discovery phase, assessing the viability of this database and define its scope. To know the needs of airlines and ground handlers for this database, IATA has just launched the Air Cargo Incidents Database Survey. Share your thoughts if you are an airline or ground handler! 

Contact us if you want to help define air cargo standards and support IATA's work on any of these projects and initiatives. Find out more about IATA’s StB Cargo program here.

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