More to come from air cargo booking portals

By Damian Brett

Online booking portals still have many “exciting years of growth” ahead of them despite their rapid emergence over the last couple of years.

On an IATA World Cargo Symposium (WCS) digitalisation panel chaired by Christopher Shawdon, head of business development, CHAMP Cargosystems, speakers agreed that booking portals had experienced rapid growth over the last few years, but from a very low level.

Freightos chief executive Zvi Schreiber said: “Despite our success, the industry probably has had a couple of million e-bookings this year, which is still single-digit percentages.

“We still have very little support for dangerous goods, a couple of airlines have support for refrigerated but most do not.

“Asia is growing well but it is still far below Europe so we all have some exciting years of growth ahead of us.”

Moritz Claussen, co-chief executive of the portal, said in Asia its customers include All Nippon Airways, Nippon Cargo Airlines, Japan Airlines and Singapore Airlines but he agreed there was much room for further market growth.

“Digital bookings are still very much on the rise and it wasn’t there two years, or even a year ago,” he said.

“We see rapid growth across the board now and that means people are exposed to digital bookings.”

As well as growth with potential new clients, the data analytics provided by the platforms can help existing customers to further develop their online booking penetration.

One of the challenges faced by companies looking to adapt to digital booking is creating organisational change, Claussen said. has invested in teams to help companies adapt.

“The reality is digital is great and technology is easy,” he said. “We have our expertise and can add value but to enable it you need the organisational change.

“You need to be on the ground and work with your teams and you need to implement that change and that is difficult.”

The panel also discussed the development of industry standards.

Earlier in the day, Robert Van Marissing, director channel and growth strategy, Air France KLM Martinair Cargo, had earlier explained the benefits of standards.

He said they allowed companies to more easily share information across the supply chain, compared with building individual links each time.

Schreiber and Claussen pointed out that industry standards take time to develop and their businesses would not have grown to the level they have today if they had waited for industry-wide standards to have been developed.

On the other hand, Thang Jiaw Tee of Cargo Community Network said that for community systems, where various companies need to share the same data sets with each other through a central platform, standards were very important.

Air cargo needs to adapt to changing customer demands

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