Adopting digital processes is vital for the sector

IATA has called on the air cargo industry to abandon “complicated and convoluted” paper-based processes in order to better serve its customers.

Speaking at the 11th World Cargo Symposium in Abu Dhabi, IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said that adopting digital processes will be key in moving the sector forward.

His comments were made against a backdrop of cautious optimism for the global air cargo industry.

Our customers are telling us that they expect more

After several years of virtually no growth, air cargo demand began to rise in the second half of 2016. January cargo performance showed a 7% growth in demand compared to the previous year.

“Listening to the customer has never been more important,” said de Juniac.

“The positive forces currently supporting growth are good news. But our customers are telling us that they expect more.

Video - Alexandre de Juniac urges innovation in air cargo sector

Complicated and convoluted paper-based processes that are basically unchanged from the 16th century are still being used in air cargo today.

“Our customers pay a premium to ship by air and they rightly expect modern processes and high quality services.”

De Juniac says the implementation of digital process e-freight is vital for transformation in the cargo industry.

Finding solutions to unfulfilled, or even unrealized, expectations creates value for customers

E-freight aims to take the paper out of air cargo and to replace it with the exchange of electronic data and messages.

A key element of e-freight is the market adoption of the e-Air Waybill (e-AWB), which will replace the paper waybill. Global penetration has nearly reached 50% and the industry is targeting 62% by year-end on enabled trade lanes.

“Shippers today want responsive services based on intelligent systems able to self-monitor, send real-time alerts and respond to deviation,” said de Juniac.

“Technologically speaking, this is totally possible. The key to this and other innovations is using data efficiently and effectively.

“Finding solutions to unfulfilled, or even unrealized, expectations creates value for customers. And that propels a business forward.”