Airlines commit to air cargo modernisation

PHOTO: CargotoNigeria

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) 73rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) has adopted a resolution to accelerate the modernisation and transformation of the air cargo industry.

The resolution builds on the momentum created by the entry into force of the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO’s) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).

IATA’s Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac, said the TFA commits governments to making trade faster, cheaper and more efficient.

According to de Juniac, “Air cargo processes are stuck in another century. To ensure that air cargo is ready to benefit from the expected $1 trillion boost in trade growth arising from the TFA and the improving global economic environment, we need a major overhaul of industry processes. And there is no time to lose; our customers already expect the efficiency of electronic documentation.”

The IATA resolution calls for the air cargo industry to take a customer-centric approach to transformation to meet the evolving needs of shippers and urges the industry to: conclude the digitisation of the supply chain to allow all information to be shared instantly, improving efficiency and simplifying the transport process.

“Adopt modern and harmonised standards that facilitate safe, secure and efficient operations, particularly in relation to carriage of dangerous goods; use enhanced technology to provide customers with responsive services based on intelligent systems able to self-monitor, send real-time alerts and respond to deviation and harness the power of data to drive efficient and effective industry quality improvements.”

Recognising that partnerships are critical in driving industry transformation especially for a business where global standards are so vital, the resolution also calls on governments to support the industry’s modernisation process by: rapidly implementing the TFA so that its substantial benefits such as harmonised rules for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods crossing borders and the acceptance of e-payments and electronic documentation can be realised.

Also, developing smart regulations that not only improve the safety and security of the air cargo supply chain, but also facilitates the efficient transport of goods.

The resolution reinforces the role of IATA to facilitate and support the modernization and transformation process through its industry transformation program, Simplifying the Business (StB) Cargo. The StB Cargo program is taking the lead in bringing several initiatives for data-led innovation forward. The program also includes a Smart Facilities initiative designed to enhance ground handling service quality.

“The time is right for change. After several years of virtually no growth, air cargo demand is starting to pick up. We are also seeing new business opportunities with internet commerce and the global distribution of time and temperature sensitive cargo, especially pharmaceutical products,” said de Juniac.

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