Show us the e-freight benefits, say forwarders

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Freight forwarders need to see significant value added to the airport-to-airport portion of the air cargo supply chain before making a commitment to e-commerce, according to an industry survey.

Some 55 per cent of respondents said they were aware of IATA’s e-freight project yet less than 20 per cent said they were participating in the initiative.

Bill Gottlieb, immediate past president of FIATA, who helped lead the research, said: “It is clear that as an industry we have much more to do to make forwarders embrace e-commerce in the air mode, as they have already done successfully with land and marine transport. With nearly half of the forwarders claiming not to have heard of e-freight, we have to find ways to reinforce the message. It is clear the industry has to evolve to a new way of doing business use e-commerce but we need to broaden the approach and think outside of the box in terms of how we embrace technology.”

Some 450 freight forwarders from 84 countries responded to survey by FIATA, the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations and TIACA.

Daniel Fernandez, secretary general of TIACA, said: “The IATA led e-freight programme is clearly the most significant e-commerce initiative in our industry, as highlighted by the latest announcement that DHL Global Forwarding and Emirates SkyCargo are pairing up in a new project to sufficiently reduce errors and eliminate tons of paper documents across their networks by becoming the leading implementers of e-freight.

“However, the survey clearly shows that for other forwarders around the world, we as an industry still have a lot to do to promote the full benefits of trading electronically and eliminating paper from the air cargo process.”

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