IATA has called on the air cargo industry to
accelerate modernization and focus on delivering high quality
The call was made at the 11th World Cargo
Symposium, which opened in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday against a backdrop of
cautious optimism for the global air cargo sector.
years of virtually no growth, air cargo demand began to rise in
the second half of 2016. January cargo performance showed a 7%
growth in demand compared to the previous year.
"Listening to the customer has never been more
important," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s
Director General and CEO. "The positive forces currently
supporting growth are good news. But our customers are telling us
that they expect more. Complicated and convoluted paper-based
processes that are basically unchanged from the 16th century are
still being used in air cargo today. Our customers pay a premium
to ship by air and they rightly expect modern processes and high
De Juniac focused on two key
areas for industry transformation:
Simple modern electronic
processes: The industry has been pursuing a digital process
transformation known as e-freight for over a decade. A key element
of e-freight is the market adoption of the e-air waybill. Global
penetration has nearly reached 50% and the industry is targeting
62% by year-end on enabled trade lanes.
Services: "Two of the fastest growing and most profitable parts of
the business are focused on meeting specific customer needs. These
are e-commerce as well as time- and temperature-sensitive cargo
such as pharmaceuticals. It’s a great example to illustrate that
we are most successful when we understand and meet customer
expectations with value-added solutions," said de Juniac.
"Shippers today want responsive services based on intelligent
systems able to self-monitor, send real-time alerts and respond to deviation. Technologically speaking, this is totally possible. The
key to this and other innovations is using data efficiently and
effectively. Finding solutions to unfulfilled (or even unrealized)
expectations creates value for customers. And that propels a
business forward," de Juniac added.
The work of Cargo iQ
initiative is helping to improve quality standards and to support
data-driven innovations to add value to the customer experience.
Partnerships are critical in driving industry
transformation. "Driving change—whether it is to modernize
processes or unlock value through innovation—is challenging for a
business where global standards are so vital. Air cargo is highly
regulated--so governments must be on-board with change. We are a
complex value chain, so building industry consensus is critical.
To be successful we must work in strong partnerships," said de Juniac.
De Juniac noted the need to address safety concerns
with the shipment of lithium batteries as an example of where
partnerships are critical. Industry and government have worked
together to put in place regulations based on global standards so
that lithium batteries can be shipped safely. "The problem is that
the regulations are not being enforced. We still see too many
examples of abuse including mislabeling of batteries. We ask
governments to step up enforcement and take a tougher stance
against rogue shippers. They have the power to impose significant
fines and custodial sentences on those violating the regulations.
We ask that they put these in place to stop the violations," said
De Juniac further identified three key areas
where the industry needs the support of governments to implement
- The adoption of the Montreal
Convention 1999 (MC99) governing the regulation of acceptance of
digital documentation by governments is a critical perquisite for
the e-AWB. To date, 124 countries have implemented MC99. But some
key countries where air cargo has an important role still need to
come on board. These include Thailand and Vietnam.
adoption of revisions to the Kyoto Convention of the World Customs
Organization, which facilitates smart border solutions that reduce
complexity and cost
- The quick implementation of the World
Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, which will make
trade cheaper, faster and easier.
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