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Smart Facility

The Smart Facility project is part of StB Cargo and aims at:

  1. creating transparency in cargo handling services and to enhance basic cargo operations capacities to a consistently higher baseline level across the industry

reducing the audit complexity between carriers and Cargo Terminal Operators (CTO) by providing an operational capacity audit and accreditation scheme (SFOC) that validates a CTO’s capacities to handle cargo within the cargo facility.

Capacity transparency

Worldwide there are over 3500 differently sized CTO stations performing handling operations with little visibility and transparency on the capacities and services they can offer. Smart Facility will introduce a remote validation process that captures the existing physical infrastructure and equipment of CTOs and makes this information available on a publicly accessible online platform.

Industry audit complexity reduction

Currently, the industry spends thousands of man-hours on redundant facility quality audits as each carrier is performing them individually to ensure operating standards are matching agreed service levels. That puts a burden on carriers and facility operators alike.

The SFOC has the potential to reduce this burden significantly by establishing an industry-wide, mutually recognized audit and accreditation scheme that creates trust in the operational capacities of cargo facilities and will allow carriers to reduce their audits to individual unique selling points (USP) instead of validating the entire handling process from A to Z.

Did you know?

In 1 audit cycle, around 418’000 airline man days are spent auditing cargo facilities, in most cases duplicating and triplicating the effort. The Smart Facility Operational Capacity Audit aims to reduce this effort by 50%.



The backbone for the SFOC audit is the Smart Facility Standards Manual which contains auditing guidelines and capacity lists derived from IATA's Cargo Standards, against which a cargo facility can be measured. The Smart Facility Standards Manual is included in the online publication of the IATA Cargo Handling Manual (ICHM).

Benefits of streamlining cargo operations audit processes

Developed at the request of the industry and pilot-tested with multiple airline and cargo terminal operators, the Smart Facility Program aims to deliver the following benefits: 

  • Standardization of individual audit requirements for handling facilities in the industry
  • Simplification of multiple audits over time through mutual recognition of the SFOC -> elimination of audit fatigue
  • A decrease in audit costs/redundancies for SLA adherence
  • Easy matchmaking between shipper, freight forwarder, airline and cargo terminal operators, through the transparent display of services and capacities offered
  • Easy benchmarking against industry standards and identification of gaps in processes

2019 focus 

  • Launch of the publishing platform
  • Launch of the SFOC audit program and remote validation process
  • Development of the auditor training

Join the program

Interested airlines and cargo terminal operators can contact us directly to learn more about how to engage in this industry initiative to reduce audit burden and increase operational efficiency.

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