E-freight software solution connects to more than 90 airlines

eFreightIndia-based e-freight software development company Hans Infomatic has teamed up with the Worldwide Information Network (WIN) – an online platform for independent freight forwarders -to offer its customers a streamlined e-Customs process.

“Hans Infomatic’s web-based ‘AMS’ application enables customers to access one streamlined process for e-Customs filing, as well as electronic Air Waybills (e-AWBs), and e-manifests to over 90 airlines, using the WIN platform,” WIN said in a statement.

Benefits also include full electronic tracking, with AWB information automatically loaded into the AMS system, so shipments no longer have to be checked manually.

Hans Infomatic’s managing director, Parvinder Singh, said that the new integrated system would help forwarders collate and consolidate information into a single system.

“With this system of e-filing, export documents will be accessible to Customs (for Shipping Bills) as well as airlines without duplication, thereby saving costs and also helping to conserve the environment,” he added.

WIN’s online collaboration platform for freight forwarders is used by agents in 111 countries and 450 cities.

UK Forwarders object to New Air Cargo Surcharge

awb_welcomeIt is becoming more and more evident that every ‘automation’ project entails ‘more costs’. The benefits appear to lie in the ‘comfort’ of doing stuff at your keyboard. Much vaunted ‘cost-savings’ are a myth as technology encroaches every facet of global trading. The following is a fine example.

The trade association for UK freight forwarders and logistics service providers is encouraging its members to object to a Paper Air Waybill (AWB) Surcharge that airlines are planning for export AWBs that are not filed electronically. Robert Keen, director general of the British International Freight Association (Bifa), commented: “Bifa supports e-Commerce and e-Air Waybill implementation in the air cargo supply chain. However, we believe that implementation should create value for forwarders and airlines alike, and airlines need to recognise the costs that the originator of the information incurs to enter and transmit data.”

Keen continued: “Through our international body Fiata, Bifa will be voicing our objection to carriers that seek to apply yet another surcharge, and create yet another revenue stream, under the guise of supporting IATA’s – the airline industry body’s – e-Freight initiative, which aims to implement e-Freight worldwide.” Bifa is asking its members to join in the stand against the introduction of this surcharge by completing an online survey, which can be found here: http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1782849/Paper-AWB-Surcharge-Survey

The air freight sector missed IATA’s target last year of achieving 20% e-air waybill penetration “on feasible lanes”, achieving just 12%. The target for 2014 has been revised downwards to 22%, with a target for 45% e-AWB penetration by the end of 2015 and 80% by the end of 2016. IATA expects to see an acceleration of penetration levels this year, in part because of the introduction last year of the e-AWB Multilateral Agreement, to which around 70 airlines and more than 100 freight forwarders have now signed up.

But while there is increasing momentum among airlines and air cargo handlers, many forwarders remain unconvinced of the benefits. Chuck Zhao, process engineer project manager at US air cargo handler Consolidated Aviation Services (CAS), observes that only around 6% shipments out of the US are e-freight, largely because “those who cut the paper air waybills simply do not see the benefits of going paperless”.

Michael White, assistant director of cargo facilitation, security and standards for US air freight association Cargo Network Services (CNS) and regional manager of cargo for IATA, observed that there was a need for effective communication routes for the forwarders, especially small and medium-sized ones, to transmit their FWB & FHL messages – preferably a community system rather than via multiple airline portals. He said there was currently no community system in the US, but there were signs that companies are looking at that capability. Source: Lloydsloadinglist.com

eAWB – Biggest achievement in standard-setting in air freight in 20 years

freightStandardization of the format for the e-AWB is expected to accelerate the industry’s move toward paperless transportation. Before this, Leger says, carriers were confronted with signing hundreds or even thousands of separate bilateral agreements with individual forwarders. He went on to describe e-AWB “the biggest achievement in standard-setting in air freight in 20 years.”

Following a year-long development process culminating in three months of trials that involved 15 carriers and eight forwarders, the IATA/FIATA Consultative Council (IFCC) endorsed the multilateral e-AWB agreement in February with some minor amendments. IATA formally adopted the agreement as its new Resolution 672 at the 35th Cargo Services Conference (CSC/35) in Doha, immediately ahead of the World Cargo Symposium. Click Here! to view the new Resolution.

The agreement was this week filed with governments, from whom IATA is seeking expedited approval in 30 days. “We hope to go live before mid-year,” Leger says. “We see e-Freight as essential for the future competitiveness of air cargo, and the e-AWB is the cornerstone of e-Freight. Agreeing the multilateral e-AWB is a game changer, and should go a long way toward reaching our target of the 20 percent e-AWB adoption rate we have set as our target for 2013.”

While early adopters in the airline community, including Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Korean Air and Singapore Airlines, overcame the logistical obstacles, they commented that having to draft separate bilaterals with forwarders would prevent wider implementation and delay the e-Freight objective.

“The standard bilateral that we initially developed, which allowed forwarders to make their own amendments, still left the industry facing extra costs but rapidly proved the concept,” Leger says. “Cathay adopted it in 2011 and then, in the middle of last year, we started work on the multilateral agreement.

“There were long discussions between carriers and forwarders as we tried to come up with an acceptable formula. This did not concern technical or operational aspects, but was more to do with what the governing law should be. Each nationality wanted to follow its own jurisdiction and consensus was necessary.”

As soon as trials began in October, Leger says the participants could see the value of the multilateral agreement. IATA hopes it will acts as the springboard for its ultimate target of 100 percent conversion to e-AWB by 2015. Source: Air Cargo World News