AF-KLM to make electronic awbs mandatory

Air France-KLM is planning to make the use of electronic airwaybills mandatory out of Amsterdam from early next year, in an attempt to build critical mass for IATA’s e-freight project to remove paper documents from air cargo.
Mattijs ten Brink, senior vice-president worldwide operations, who will take over as senior vice-president sales and distribution for Air France-KLM Cargo at the end of the year, says a final decision has not yet been taken on whether all routes out of Amsterdam will be covered or just some, and cannot say when the measure might take effect. “We will make an announcement later this year,” he says.
But he is clear that the idea is to take the lead in making forwarders use e-freight. “To be efficient with e-freight you need volumes, but before people jump in they want to see volumes, so there is a question of who jumps first. So we have decided to jump in,” he says. “We are sure that if we jump, everyone else will jump, because they will see the advantages.”
Compulsion is so far only envisaged for the electronic airwaybill, only one of the 15 or so documents covered by e-freight. Ten Brink says this is because many forwarders are not yet geared up to produce the other documents electronically.
“But we are convinced that everyone can do the electronic airwaybill, and if any companies can’t, then we will have a team that will go to their offices and help them,” he says. “We are not just making it mandatory and sitting back, but we will be assisting customers to comply.”


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