Etihad Cargo plans next stage of digitalisation

As it celebrates its first year of digitalisation, Etihad Cargo prepares to launch a range of new projects to drive the programme forward.

“Our digitalisation roadmap is only in its infancy,” says Abdulla Mohamed Shadid, Etihad Aviation Group’s managing director cargo and logistics services.

“The foundations have been laid for a number of exciting projects in coming months, including our new, soon-to-launch and state-of-the-art Cargo Control Centre, a brand new website and mobile app, dynamic pricing and APIs to support several new booking channels.

“It’s all part of our commitment to make Etihad Cargo a market leader in air cargo digitalisation, something only a handful of carriers can boast today.”

Etihad Cargo implemented a full overhaul of its booking processes and platforms 12 months ago with the successful migration of its front-end systems to SPRINT – an IBS iCargo fully integrated technology platform that combined six legacy Etihad platforms into one.

Since its launch, the system has successfully handled almost half a million bookings, equating to 115,000 flights processed and 10 million messages from almost 3,000 customers and nearly 6,000 users.

“iCargo marked a significant shift in the way Etihad Cargo operates. It was a momentous first step in our ongoing journey of improvement and adaptation to a new and exciting digitised world for air cargo,” said Shadid.

“We have continued to work on a number of parallel and linear initiates to further enhance customer experiences, for example simplifying the booking journey, or reducing the average time to make a booking.”

The half a million bookings processed in iCargo, Etihad Cargo’s online booking portal which also went live last October, accounted for 20% of total bookings. The monthly booking rate grew from zero in October 2018 to 33.7% in September 2019, which Etihad describes as “an unprecedented in the industry over the timeframe”.

The region with the highest online booking penetration rate for Etihad Cargo is Asia, with India completing 96% of its September 2019 bookings through www.etihadcargo.com and Thailand close to the 90% mark.

The Americas represents the second highest rate with the US recently crossing the 50% mark for online bookings. Etihad Cargo is working to boost the rates in Europe as several new initiatives come online.

Etihad has also reaffirmed its commitment to IATA’s e-AWB initiative, which aims to encourage electronic airway bills as the default contract of carriage on enabled trade lanes, and an intermediate step towards a future eFreight solution.

It has engaged in detailed review and consultation with customers and handlers to establish e-AWB as its default option on all enabled trades lanes. In August, Etihad Cargo launched a dedicated to support SMEs in the process. This resulted in a significant increase in the carrier’s e-AWB penetration rate, which rose from a 16-18% average in 2018 to cross the 50% mark in September – a figure expected to increase further in the fourth quarter.

 

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