The International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have announced that the Multilateral electronic Air Waybill (e-AWB) standard has been approved, removing the need for bilateral e-AWB agreements between airlines and freight forwarders.
Airlines will have a single agreement with IATA that enables them to accept e-AWBs from all participating freight forwarders, while freight forwarders will have a single agreement that will allow them to tender e-AWB shipments to multiple airlines at numerous airports worldwide.
IATA and FITA developed and tested the multilateral e-AWB standard in 2012. The two organizations say that trials in October 2012 confirmed the value of the new agreement, which was endorsed by the IATA/FIATA Consultative Council in February 2013.
Final consent was reached with the approval by the IATA Cargo Services Conference of the Multilateral e-AWB as the new IATA Resolution 672 in March.
“The approval of the multilateral e-AWB agreement is the most important new cargo
standard developed in the last two decades,” said Des Vertannes, IATA’s global head of cargo. “It gives us critical momentum to achieving the e-freight vision of a paperless cargo system.”
Rudi Sagel, FIATA’s chairman of the Air Freight Institute, said: “Freight forwarders and airlines were looking forward to greater simplification when they looked at the e-AWB agreement; now this new multilateral e-AWB agreement allows forwarders to sign only once to connect to all signatory airlines. It means significant progress as joining the multilateral e-AWB agreement provides the legal framework to transmit AWB data electronically to the carrier for AWB completion.”
FIATA and IATA expect the multilateral e-AWB agreement to be well received by the airline and freight forwarding communities, and will play a major role in increasing acceptance of the e-AWB to reach the industry target of 100 percent penetration by 2015.