IATA Con­fi­dent e-AWB will be 100% by 2015

As a ma­jor first step to­wards de­liv­er­ing the com­plete e-freight suite, IATA’s air­line mem­bers are com­mit­ted to in­tro­duc­ing the e-AWB (elec­tronic Air Way­bill). IATA’s tar­gets are to de­liver 20 per cent e-AWB pen­e­tra­tion by the end of 2013, 50 per cent by e

Cargo Talk - - Chief Talk - RATAN KR PAUL

Des feels e-com­merce and specif­i­cally, e-freight is the fu­ture of the air cargo in­dus­try. Pa­per­less cargo is a goal, which ev­ery seg­ment of the in­dus­try – ship­pers, for­warders and air­lines – is com­mit­ted to, through the work of the Global Air Cargo Ad­vi­sory Group (GACAG).

He pointed out that at the re­cent World Eco­nomic Fo­rum (WEF) in Davos, Switzer­land, the WEF pub­lished a study on ‘Re­mov­ing Trade Bar­ri­ers’ fea­tur­ing e-freight as a case ex­am­ple, among oth­ers that il­lus­trate the ben­e­fits gov­ern­ments and com­pa­nies could get from re­mov­ing key bar­ri­ers such as the lack of elec­tronic cus­toms pro­ce­dures and over-re­liance on pa­per doc­u­ments.

Ac­cord­ing to Des, e-freight, once fully adopted, will cut thou­sands of tonnes of pa­per, speed up tran­sit times by up to 24-hours and im­prove the in­dus­try’s en­vi­ron­men­tal cre­den­tials. There are sig­nif­i­cant se­cu­ri­ties and cost ben­e­fits as well. “With cargo yields at risk of fall­ing for the sec­ond year run­ning in 2013, the ben­e­fits in push­ing for­ward the ef­fi­cien­cies of e-freight should be clear,” he said.

IATA has agreed on an e-freight Roadmap with GACAG that has called for 80 per cent of global air­freight trade lanes to be e-freight en­abled by the end of 2015. They are work­ing with in­dus­try part­ners to de­velop e-freight in key air cargo lo­ca­tions, in­clud­ing the BRIC (Brazil, Rus­sia, In­dia and China) coun­tries.

IATA is also work­ing in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the World Cus­toms Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WCO) to push government ad­min­is­tra­tions to adopt the WCO’s “De­ma­te­ri­al­i­sa­tion”

rec­om­men­da­tions. Th­ese call upon na­tional ad­min­is­tra­tions to re­move the re­quire­ment for pa­per Cus­toms Dec­la­ra­tions and pa­per sup­port­ing doc­u­ments, in com­pli­ance with the Re­vised Ky­oto Con­ven­tion stan­dards and the WCO SAFE Frame­work of Stan­dards rec­om­men­da­tions. Some 166 WCO Mem­ber States have com­mit­ted to adopt SAFE, and In­dia is one of them.

“As a ma­jor first step to­wards de­liv­er­ing the com­plete e-freight suite, IATA’s air­line mem­bers are com­mit­ted to in­tro­duc­ing the e-AWB (elec­tronic Air Way­bill). IATA has agreed with FI­ATA that adop­tion of e-AWB is an im­por­tant in­dus­try pri­or­ity, and our tar­gets are to de­liver 20 per cent e-AWB pen­e­tra­tion by the end of 2013, 50 per cent by end 2014, and 100 per cent by 2015. GACAG also fully en­dorses this timetable,” in­formed Des.

Ar­eas of Con­cern Cur­rently, the global pen­e­tra­tion of the e-AWB is at around seven per cent. “So, we have clearly worked to reach our year-end tar­get. There are a num­ber of is­sues be­hind the rel­a­tively slow pickup of the e-AWB. Some na­tional gov­ern­ments have failed to rat­ify the ICAO pro­to­col MC99, which en­ables the use of e-AWB as the con­tract of car­riage. In those coun­tries, IATA to­gether with the na­tional air­lines is lob­by­ing the government to rat­ify MC99,” Des ob­served.

In ad­di­tion, some air­lines and their trad­ing part­ners have been un­able to in­vest in sys­tems en­hance­ments needed to op­ti­mise e-freight ca­pa­bil­i­ties due to the fi­nan­cial cri­sis that has been grip­ping the world. Some government de­part­ments have also had bud­get con­straints, which have af­fected their adop­tion of pa­per­less e-Com­merce and e-Cus­toms prac­tices that sup­port e-freight.

Air­lines Ini­tia­tives Against the above sce­nario, IATA wit­nessed a num­ber of success sto­ries with the e-AWB, notably Cathay Pa­cific in Hong Kong and Emi­rates in the UAE, who have im­ple­mented 100 per cent e-AWB from their hubs in Hong Kong and Dubai. Sim­i­lar trends are be­ing fol­lowed by Sin­ga­pore Air­lines in Sin­ga­pore, and by Korean Air at Seoul. Many key trade lanes are us­ing the e-AWB and the pen­e­tra­tion is grow­ing.

“I am con­fi­dent that the tar­gets will be met and I have been de­lighted with the re­sponse from air­lines, par­tic­u­larly, the

The cre­ation of GACAG means that we have a plat­form to dis­cuss and move projects for­ward to­gether”

Des Ver­tannes

Global Head of Cargo, IATA

air­lines on the Cargo Com­mit­tee. They have re­alised that they have to lead from the front in adopt­ing a pa­per­less ap­proach. Of course, many air­lines have gone through a very tough few years, fi­nan­cially, and have not had suf­fi­cient re­sources to in­vest in e-freight ca­pa­bil­ity. Hopefully, as the ben­e­fits be­come ev­i­dent, and as vol­umes pick up, that will change,” Des feels.

He also main­tained that the re­sponse from the rest of the cargo chain has also been pos­i­tive. “The cre­ation of GACAG means that we have a plat­form to dis­cuss and move projects for­ward to­gether. This also means that we have re­fo­cused the e-freight project, with re­spon­si­bil­ity for the re­moval of core pa­per trans­porta­tion doc­u­ments fall­ing to air­lines, while the re­moval of other pa­per doc­u­ments is led by the ship­per and freight for­warder com­mu­ni­ties,” Des em­pha­sised.

In­dian Con­text Ac­cord­ing to Des, the air cargo in­dus­try in In­dia is largely ready to im­ple­ment e-freight, and in fact, some air­lines have al­ready put in place most of the e-freight prac­tices and pro­cesses, but we are still miss­ing full pa­per­less cus­toms pro­cesses.

He pointed out that although In­dia has signed the ICAO pro­to­col MC99 and In­dia Cus­toms has an e-Com­merce plat­form called ICEGATE, which al­lows elec­tronic fil­ing of Im­port & Ex­port doc­u­ments, In­dia Cus­toms still re­quires the submission of pa­per Cus­toms Dec­la­ra­tions and pa­per Sup­port Doc­u­ments, such as com­mer­cial in­voices, in ad­di­tion to the elec­tronic fil­ing through ICEGATE.

“That is the only ob­sta­cle to the in­dus­try im­ple­ment­ing e-freight com­pletely in In­dia, and we are hope­ful that this can be re­moved with the col­lab­o­ra­tion of In­dia Cus­toms,” he main­tained.

“How­ever, while we are work­ing to re­move this ob­sta­cle, there is noth­ing stop­ping the air­freight in­dus­try in In­dia mov­ing for­ward with e-AWB im­me­di­ately, since the us­age of e-AWB is al­ready ac­cepted by the Cen­tral Cus­toms Ad­min­is­tra­tion in In­dia,” he added.

Mean­while, an in­dus­try sup­port group, co­or­di­nated by IATA and led by Delhi In­ter­na­tional Air­port (DIAL) with par­tic­i­pa­tion from air­lines, and freight for­warders as cus­toms bro­kers, has been en­gag­ing with In­dia Cus­toms to im­ple­ment a pa­per­less e-Cus­toms ca­pa­bil­ity. In­dia Cus­toms have agreed, in prin­ci­ple, to un­der­take pa­per­less e-Cus­toms tri­als on low value ship­ments at New Delhi Air­port as a proof of con­cept.

“The New Delhi Proof of Con­cept is in­tended to lead to the roll out of a fully pa­per­less ca­pa­bil­ity across all In­dian air­ports and for all ship­ments ir­re­spec­tive of their value,” Des be­lieves.

Once the Proof of Con­cept tri­als are con­cluded, the in­dus­try sup­port group will again meet with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Cen­tral Board of Ex­cise and Cus­toms to dis­cuss a roll out plan. This ap­proach has the full ap­proval and back­ing from the WCO un­der its “De­ma­te­ri­al­i­sa­tion” ini­tia­tive.

“In the short-term, we are work­ing with air­port cus­toms au­thor­i­ties on the ground to ac­cept ship­ments us­ing an e-AWB, in ac­cor­dance with the reg­u­la­tions de­fined by the cen­tral cus­toms ad­min­is­tra­tion. We need the in­flu­ence and lead­er­ship of the na­tional air­lines for mak­ing In­dia a mar­ket fully open for the e-AWB,” Des con­cluded.

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