One month after moving its first airfreight shipment using an electronic airway bill, Gulf Air has discussed its e-freight initiatives with key industry stakeholders. Addressing members of the Bahrain Air Cargo Working Group, Gulf Air’s senior cargo manager Khalid Faqih shared the carrier’s experience of going paperless and revealed its progress toward adopting certain e-freight measures.
Gulf Air’s inaugural e-freight shipment traveled from Bahrain to Dubai in October, a move that came one year after the carrier introduced Cargospot, an end-to-end cargo management system. Such actions are aligned with the International Air Transport Association’s e-freight goal, which is to eliminate paper airway bills by 2015.
Hussein Dabbas, IATA’s regional vice president for the Middle East and North Africa, lauded Gulf Air for becoming the third regional carrier to introduce e-AWBs. “The e-AWB is a crucial step toward adoption of full e-freight, which replaces up to 20 paper documents with electronic versions for every shipment,” Dabbas said in a statement. “E-freight increases the speed and security of air cargo, which will serve to benefit world trade and economic growth.”
Faqih also touted these benefits in his November address to the Air Cargo Working Group, which included ground-handling agents, carriers, freight forwarders and Customs agents. Along with allowing faster supply-chain transit times and resulting in greater accuracy, e-AWBs are more environmentally sustainable than their paper-based counterparts, Faqih argued in his speech.
Company CEO Samer Majali holds a similar approach and revealed his plans to turn Gulf Air’s Bahrain hub into a completely paperless station by mid-2014. The carrier’s first e-freight shipment, however, remains a source of great pride for him.
“This is, indeed, a great achievement as it involves several stakeholders in the entire cargo supply chain, such as freight forwarders, handling agents and customs and civil aviation authorities, to ensure the seamless electronic process from beginning to end,” Majali said in October.