e-AWB set to become default contract in 2019 on enabled trade lanes

IATA has confirmed that the electronic air waybill (e-AWB) will become the default contract of carriage for all air cargo shipments on enabled trade lanes, effective January 1, 2019.
The association said: “This key industry milestone ushers air cargo into a new era where digital processes will be the norm and paper processes will be the exception.”
It highlighted the benefits of the e-AWB, which include the elimination of paper-based processes, improved efficiency and reliability of the overall cargo handling process, faster delivery times, a decrease in handling errors and a positive impact on the environment.
The e-AWB was first introduced in 2010. IATA described it as “a key enabler to the digitalisation and transformation of our industry, as data availability and quality is critical to deliver innovative solutions and enhance customer experience".
The association added: “The growing number of stakeholders using e-AWB demonstrates that the industry is ready and committed to embrace the full digitalisation of the air cargo industry.” 
While encouraging all air cargo industry stakeholders to switch to e-AWB at the earliest opportunity, IATA also acknowledged that international treaties, national law or bilateral agreements between parties may yet render a paper air waybill necessary in some cases.