IATA called for strong partnerships to promote air cargo competitiveness through e-commerce technology at the IATA e-cargo conference held this week in Geneva.
“An electronic revolution is transforming logistics and transport, creating a fundamental change in the security, safety, efficiency and reliability of airfreight,” said Des Vertannes, IATA’s global head of cargo. “This conference has undoubtedly put e-cargo at the forefront of industry thinking. Now we need to drive action through strong partnerships across issues such as e-customs, advanced electronic information, the digitization of transport documents, e-cargo security, and e-Air Waybill (e-AWB) implementation.”
Total annual freight tonnes carried has grown by just 1.4 million tonnes since 2010, and IATA’s forecast for the air transport industry estimates cargo growth of only 1.5 percent in 2013. Yields are expected to fall 2 percent and total cargo revenues will be $62 billion – $4 billion down from 2010.
The centerpiece of IATA’s e-cargo program is its e-freight initiative. E-freight offers the opportunity to improve shipment times by up to 24 hours, and remove 7,800 tonnes of paper documents annually. The efficiency and reliability of shipments will increase as multiple data entry is removed. And regulatory authorities seeking greater security oversight of air freight will also benefit from swifter and more accurate access to electronic information on shipments.
“Convergence is coming our way this time,” said Margo Sorgetti, FIATA’s director general who chaired the conference’s opening plenary. “I have been following these e initiatives for something like almost 20 years now. The numbers we have seen here, the faces, the people…no one was falling asleep and everyone was quite keen to hear what was coming in the future.”
Vertannes said the current global implementation of the e-AWB stands at 9 percent. He remains optimistic that IATA’s goal of 20 percent will be achieved by year’s end, but said current projections place it at 18 percent.