The Global Air Cargo Advisory Committee has released a new plan to confront e-commerce in the air cargo industry with the hope that the core cargo documents on 80 percent of global trade lanes are all digital by 2015.
Total acceptance of the e-air waybill will also be achieved by 2015.
A day after Swiss WorldCargo officially signed on to the International Air Transport Association's new multilateral e-air waybill test program, GACAG — an amalgamation of IATA, The International Air Cargo Association, the Global Shippers' Forum and the Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations — has outlined its plan to push forward e-cargo in 2013.
This roadmap marks the first time in its two-year history GACAG has outlined its plan to promote global acceptance of e-freight and the concrete steps to make that happen. The foundation of the plan includes three pillars that involve lobbying those in power for the creation of an "e-freight route" with fully electronic systems; helping supply-chain members digitize their core documents; and develop a digitization plan for commercial and other documents that accompany air freight.
“This new roadmap will form the basis to manage the e-freight initiative moving forward and fully integrates the work done previously in the context of the e-freight project," GACAG Chairman Michael Steen said in a statement. "It also identifies a number of areas where further work needs to be done in collaboration between the different associations that are members of GACAG and that represent the entire air cargo supply chain. This work includes standards, business process and other areas.”
Previous work on e-freight ranged from the all-at-once approach championed by Cargo 2000 to a more measured, piecemeal plan pushed forward by GACAG this year. Of course, those earliest approaches were fragmented, whereas these latest actions have been taken by the industry as a whole.
“The industry is now comprehensively united in our objectives and timelines for e-freight and e-AWB. This sends a huge message to all industry participants, and I am comfortable that this will lead to significant acceleration in adoption of e-Cargo in 2013," Bill Gottlieb, past president of FIATA, stated. "This is a perfect example of how we can be stronger through dialogue and collaboration.” - Jon Ross