Delta Cargo teamed up with Cargo Network Services in Atlanta Tuesday, July 29, 2013, to encourage the freight industry to increase the acceptance and use of electronic air waybills, which is deemed an essential element to the future of the industry.
More than 100 representatives including freight forwarders, ground handlers, airlines and officials with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Transportation Security Administration, attended Tuesday’s meeting, presented by CNS. CNS is the air cargo division of the International Air Transport Association and has been a strong advocate of e-AWB adoption.
CNS is presenting a series of e-AWB familiarization meetings at major U.S. airline hubs in July and August to generate momentum for the adoption of paperless practices in the air freight industry. Delta Cargo has participated in all the meetings being held at U.S. gateways this summer, including hosting the ones in Atlanta and Detroit.
Delta Cargo continues to lead e-AWB adoption in the US with nearly 40 percent market penetration so far this year. One of the division’s 2013 Flight Plan goals is to expand that figure to 60 percent for U.S. shipments and 30 percent for international.
“We know that the future belongs to those who are the quickest to adapt to change, and we believe this is a critical change our industry needs to embrace,” said Ray Curtis, v.p.-Global Cargo Sales, who welcomed attendees to Tuesday’s session. “We also know that this type of wide-reaching change requires collaboration: collaboration internally within our own company, collaboration with our customers, with regulatory bodies, with ground handlers, even collaboration with our competitors. We have to move this forward together and that requires mutual recognition among all stakeholders that modernizing the air freight supply chain benefits us all.”
During the two-hour session in Atlanta, CNS officials reviewed the basics of establishing e-AWB processes, including determining the technology and software necessary and outlining how the e-AWB protocols work.
“Our goal today is to create greater awareness about the e-air waybill process and to show the airlines and forwarders the first steps to allow them to do e-airway bills, including the legal requirements,” said Warren Jones, head of CNS. “Delta clearly is a leader and has a huge stake in this process. This is an industry-wide effort, and Delta has made the commitment to show the way. And largely because of Delta, Atlanta is leading the U.S. carriers in the number of e-AWB shipments on a monthly basis.”
Delta Cargo leaders have been promoting the benefits of moving toward a wider e-freight platform, citing the substantive benefits to freight forwarders and others in the industry.
“Submitting cargo information electronically increases the accuracy of that information and reduces the chances for human error which can create significant problems throughout the shipment lifecycle,” said Dana Sample, manager-Distribution Planning and eCommerce for Delta Cargo. “Also, submitting information electronically requires less time for acceptance by our receiving agents and moves the transactions along much faster. In the end, this benefits us all.”
Delta joined the IATA multilateral eAWB agreement in April, becoming along with Swissair the first airlines to join. This allows IATA to act as a central point of contact for all those preparing to transact cargo transactions electronically, and reduces the inefficiency created by each forwarder and airline having to enter into a separate agreement.