Cargo needs to raise its game

THE International Air Transport Association, called on the air cargo supply chain to coordinate efforts to drive an industry agenda for change that will improve customer service and competitiveness.

“Air cargo is a U$50 billion business that is losing competitiveness. World trade grew 7.5 per cent last year and our growth forecast for this year is four per cent,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s director general & chief executive officer. He was speaking at the association’s second World Annual Cargo Symposium in Rome, Italy. “Our sea competitors are gaining market share with faster ships, lower prices and innovative solutions. And new capacity coming into the market – 200 to 300 wide bodies entering the market each year to 2011 – will put even greater pressure on yields. This is a tough business that is only getting tougher. The only way to succeed is to please the customer.

“Air cargo business processes belong to another age. It’s time to modernise and drive paper from the business. E-freight is the answer to our customers’ call for lower costs, improved reliability and more speed. Today e-freight is a reality in six key locations covering 10 per cent of cargo volumes. What have we achieved? First, we replaced 12 paper documents with electronic messages and a single point of data entry. More importantly, we have proved that e-freight can work. Our target for 2008, is to expand the benefits of e-freight to another eight locations. But data quality is still an issue. One key benefit for e-freight is time. Fast track customs clearance with e-freight could save up to 24 hours per shipment. But we will only achieve that if data is consistently accurate.”

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