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Slow, steady progress for e-AWB

By John W. McCurry on May 7, 2014

The effort to remove paper from air cargo is moving along, albeit slowly. Global implementation of the e-air waybill stood at 13.4 percent at the end of March. During the past year, Cargo Network Services (CNS) held 14 workshops, an array of webinars and conducted meetings with industry associations. U.S. implementation of e-AWB is 8.4 percent.

IATA’s goal is 22 percent implementation by the end of 2014 and 80 percent by the end of 2016. So far, 68 airlines covering 4,111 airports worldwide have signed the Multilateral e-AWB agreement. On the forwarding side, 827 forwarders, including 319 in the U.S., have signed it.

“We have some very positive trends,” said Mike White, director of cargo facilitation, security and standards for CNS, during an update session on the e-AWB held at the CNS Partnership Conference in San Antonio, Texas. White also noted that Delta Cargo continues to be the leader in the U.S.

IATA expects that the major air hubs in China will have the capability of doing E-freight by the end of the year.

Sharon Poindexter, director of e-commerce for Delta Cargo, said the industry must figure out how to make the entire process easy.

“There has to be some commonality, and we have to collaborate extensively," Poindexter said. “There’s so much technology at our hands that we are not taking advantage of.”

Laura Lynden, vice president, operations, for Lynden International, said she is optimistic that the industry will eventually reach its goals.

“The industry has come a long way in a short time,” she said.

Panelists agreed that improved communication is the key to achieving e-AWB implementation goals.