E-commerce is a critical component of the future security, efficiency, sustainability and overall commercial success of the air cargo supply chain, says the Global Air Cargo Advisory Group (GACAG), and the changeover from current processes will happen. GACAG will drive its development and encourage progress through several initiatives by its E-Commerce Task Force.
At the heart of a long overdue process changes, the Group says, is the elimination of paper-based documentation. With participation from airlines, forwarders, ground handlers, customs and shippers, GACAG has initiated a review of the e-freight project launched by IATA in 2006, and will review other relevant initiatives, to identify the best possible roadmap to accelerate the implementation of a paperless transportation process.
Two areas have been identified as priority for collaboration by GACAG members: the electronic air waybill (e-AWB) and the promotion of electronic Customs procedures.
“The air waybill is a central document in the air cargo transportation process and an electronic AWB is a natural first step towards creating a fully paperless environment. The e-AWB will be focused on as a catalyst to drive the adoption and implementation by airlines and forwarders of electronic air waybill procedures,” said Bill Gottlieb, Chair of the GACAG E-Commerce Task Force and Treasurer and Past President of FIATA.
In addition, the implementation of harmonized electronic Customs procedures by countries worldwide is key to creating a network of routes where air cargo industry participants can benefit from an end-to-end paperless process, GACAG said. Removing the requirement to transport original paper documentation with the freight allows for significant cost and time savings and enhances reliability. GACAG members have begun to identify countries where they can jointly engage with relevant authorities to promote the implementation of these procedures at the national level and internationally through the World Customs Organization (WCO).
Bill Gottlieb added: “The future for our industry and for the individual businesses that take part in the global air cargo supply chain depends on our ability to provide the best possible service to international traders and their customers and facilitate further development of global commerce. In today’s environment, the transportation of air cargo still involves the significant production, exchange and handling of paperwork. This is not the most efficient process for our industry!
“Customers look at this paper-based way of doing business and consider it to be outdated, inefficient and adding significant cost. They want to see actual, tangible change, no more rhetoric and a clear shift in the way we conduct business - and that is what we have to deliver. E-commerce will happen.”
6 December 2011