All cargo will now be tagged with a bar code label in compliance with IATA’s specifications, thereby making it easier for both the carrier and customers to track shipments in transit.
The news comes after GF recently used the e-AWB to transport a consignment from its Bahrain hub to Dubai (UAE).
E-AWBs will be gradually introduced across the carrier’s network over the next few months with the approval of supply chain members including forwarders, handling agents and customs authorities.
Commenting on the bid to dispense with time-consuming paperwork, as well as, improve efficiency and cut costs, chief executive Samer Majali enthuses: “This is indeed a great achievement as it involves several stakeholders in the entire cargo supply chain to ensure the seamless electronic process from beginning to end.”
Operations at GF’s hub will be completely paperless by the end of 2014.The move has the backing of Bahrain Civil Aviation Authority, Bahrain Airport Company and Bahrain Airport Services.
Hussein Dabbas, IATA’s regional vice-president for the Middle East and North Africa, declares: “IATA congratulates Gulf Air on its first e-AWB shipment and becoming only the third Gulf-based airline to achieve this capability.”
Khalid Faqih, senior manager of GF’s cargo services who is also the chairman of the Bahrain-based Air Cargo Working Group states: “In today’s electronic world, air cargo still relies heavily on paper documentation with each international airfreight shipment requiring over 20 different paper documents.
"This not only increases the cost of airfreight but also delays the transit period. By switching to e-AWB, we have addressed all these issues - lower costs, faster supply chain transit times, greater accuracy and adherence to regulatory compliance.”
The airline has already implemented an e-freight compliant IT system. In 2011, GF introduced Cargospot - an ‘end-to-end’ cargo management system, which includes booking, pricing, sales and accounting.