Technology is the answer

27 / 03 / 2013

  • Vice-president of freight for Air Canada Lise-Marie Turpin

    Vice-president of freight for Air Canada Lise-Marie Turpin

AIR cargo needs to become more productive if it is to compete with other modes, and technology is the way to do that. That is the message of Lise-Marie Turpin, now in her fifth year as vice president freight for Air Canada.

“Other modes are getting more efficient and we need to make sure we hang onto traffic we have and not lose it to other modes,” she says. “As an industry we are about selling speed – that is our differentiation – and moving high value goods. If other modes catch up with us on speed, what can we do to really add value, to be more efficient, streamlined, more quality-driven?

“Add to that the fact that the regulatory authorities are imposing more requirements on us that will slow us down, and to transmit data electronically is the only way ahead. It is coming our way in any case, so we might as well embrace it.”

Air Canada Cargo has certainly not been reluctant in the e-business space. One of its recent initiatives has been to work with Kuehne + Nagel and DHL Global Forwarding to switch from EDI messaging to the new XML messaging standards agreed by IATA.

Turpin says the advantages of XML are both speed – “It is almost instantaneous” - and cost – since XML goes over the internet there are no third party messaging costs. “You are also not constrained by only having a certain number of digits in a field, as you are with EDI. This is the language of technology, and the industry needs to embrace it. It will not go back the other way, so companies need to get on board.”

Read Peter Conway's full Interview in the next edition of Air Cargo News (8 April 2013, Issue 749).