Lufthansa Cargo drives forward paperless goal

By Roger Hailey

Photo: Lufthansa Cargo

Lufthansa Cargo will accept only those shipments with an electronic air waybill (eAWB) on ‘feasible lanes’ from March 27 this year.

In addition, the airline is introducing a paper-to-eAWB service, through which the few remaining paper-based AWBs will be digitised at shipment acceptance and then continue to accompany the shipment as an eAWB.

The move is part of the German carrier’s major step towards completely paperless shipments.

The newly introduced service is mandatory on feasible lanes for all forwarding companies that do not yet use electronic air waybills. Routes that are eAWB-feasible are those for which the regulatory basis for the use of electronic air waybills is in place.

Shippers who have not been able to use eAWB so far due to their own infrastructure can also switch to paperless transports.

In 2020, IATA announced an industry goal to achieve 100% eAWB by the end of 2022, meaning that all shipments will be carried only with eAWB.

Ashwin Bhat, chief commercial officer at Lufthansa Cargo, said: “Over the past few years, we have driven many digitisation initiatives in the air cargo industry. In fact, eliminating paper AWBs in the future could be one of the most important steps.

“A majority of our customers already use eAWB exclusively. With the new service, we can now easily take all customers with us on our digitisation journey and enable them to take the step towards paperless transports as well.”

If local regulations in a country require the presentation of a paper AWB, Lufthansa Cargo will re-produce the AWB and it will accompany the shipment on the flight. In addition to more efficient transport routes and faster information flows, paper is also saved during transport.

Dr Jan-Wilhelm Breithaupt, vice president global fulfillment management Lufthansa Cargo, said: “Our goal is to make communication with our customers easier, faster and better with the help of our digital services. We have implemented the eAWB process as an industry standard of IATA continuously and worldwide at Lufthansa Cargo since 2014.

“A five-year data quality initiative that effectively de-cluttered the data interface between customers and Lufthansa Cargo was, among other things, an important cornerstone that enabled sustainable eAWB penetration and consistent top positions in global rankings.

“We are very pleased to have achieved our goal of transporting paperless shipments and avoiding unnecessary printouts along the process chains together with our customers and partners.”

Lufthansa Cargo recently announced it is taking part in a new project by the German government to digitalise air cargo.

Lufthansa Cargo joins air cargo digitalisation project

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