Cathay Pacific has extended electronic airwaybills to all shipments from Singapore and Malaysia, an action in line with the International Air Transport Association’s goal of universal e-AWB implementation by 2014. This development comes 16 months after Cathay Pacific went 100-percent paperless in Hong Kong.
Nick Rhodes, director of cargo at Cathay Pacific, praised the carrier’s decision to increase e-AWB deployment, calling it “an important development for Cathay Pacific and the airfreight industry, in general, as we are the first airline to implement e-AWB outside its home base.
“The e-AWB program has brought us improved operational efficiency and accuracy for the airfreight industry in Hong Kong, and we are delighted to extend these benefits to customers in Singapore and Malaysia,” he continued.
Shippers and freight forwarders will likely benefit from Cathay’s decision, as well. In addition to facilitating faster Customs clearance and lowering costs, e-AWB implementation eliminates errors resulting from lost or misplaced documents, according to a press release.
IATA is now championing full implementation of the e-AWB by 2015 as the first step toward e-freight instead of the previous all-at-once method. Frederic Leger, IATA’s head of cargo business process and standards, spoke out about this approach at the March IATA World Cargo Symposium in Kuala Lumpur.
“E-freight is a big animal to digest,” Leger said before his panel at the conference. “We believe that by pushing the e-AWB, it will then create a momentum in the industry to remove the other documents. Implementing e-AWB is really the trigger that will lever the implementation of e-freight.”