E-freight is e-fright, argues Gottlieb

21 / 01 / 2011

FIATA’s ex-president says cargo groups have e-freight wrong.

THE e-freight programme will not be widely adopted by forwarders until it is re-designed to provide them with more value, according to Bill Gottlieb, immediate past president of FIATA and a member of its Presidency council.

“The e-freight programme that was put together by IATA five years ago has been focused on how to save money for the carriers,” he told Air Cargo News. “At FIATA we have been pointing out for four years that they also need to engage other parties in the supply chain and come up with ways to add value to them.”

In particular, Gottlieb reckons the programme needs to be re-focused on the interface between forwarders and airlines, rather than trying to provide a paperless solution for the whole supply chain. He says that sea freight and trucking are already more advanced than airfreight in the electronic transmission of shipper-generated documents such as packing lists and invoices, and reckons e-freight has “lost its way” in trying to replace these with XML message standards.

“IATA originally hoped that e-freight would be adopted by other modes, but it does not understand the needs of other modes, and should stick to what they know best,” he says. They are not going to get buy-in from shippers to create an electronic format for one transport mode that might not even be their primary mode of transport.

For the full story read the latest free digital edition of Air Cargo News, no. 694 dated 24 January, here.