Closer collaboration needed in air cargo

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Airlines and their partners in the air cargo supply chain need to work together to make air cargo more competitive and address the challenges of safety, security and sustainability, according Tony Tyler, director general of the International Air Transport Association.

He pointed out that air cargo transports more than $5 trillion worth of goods annually – more than a third of world trade by value – and for airlines, it accounts for about 12 per cent of industry revenues.

However, he said, the past two years had been particularly difficult and last year saw a two per cent decline in both air cargo demand and yields.

Tyler set out a series of priorities in his speech to delegates at the World Cargo Symposium in Doha, Qatar:

* Modernise processes – transitioning to a paperless operating environment is critical to improving air cargo’s competitiveness. IATA is targeting 20 per cent implementation of the e-Air Waybill by the end of 2013 and 100 per cent by the end of 2015. FIATA and the Global Shippers Forum have agreed to push forward the digitalisation of other freight documents. e-AWB penetration was 6.8 per cent at the end of 2012.

* Secure the supply chain: IATA called on governments to implement mutually-recognised secure supply chain regimes. The Secure Freight initiative championed by IATA is an example of a supply chain framework which is being piloted in eight locations worldwide. The first was Malaysia where studies have estimated that Secure Freight also brings an economic benefit of $1-$2 billion over five years. “Air cargo is a global network. We need a risk-based approach with states mutually recognising their security regimes,” said Tyler.

* Ensure that dangerous goods regulations are followed.

* Focus on environmental sustainability. The industry is committed to improving fuel efficiency by 1.5 per cent annually to 2020, capping CO2 emissions from 2020 with carbon-neutral growth and cutting net emissions in half by 2050 compared to 2005.

Tyler said 2013 would be a crucial year for aviation. The International Civil Aviation Organisation is leading efforts to develop a global solution for the market-based measures needed to help aviation reach its CNG2020 goal.

“Finding agreement among governments on a global approach will not be easy. The industry is united and doing all that it can to help. At the direction of our Board of Governors we are working through our governance processes to achieve an industry agreement on how to share the burden of CNG2020.

“And the efforts of the cargo community to develop a common carbon calculator will assist in the dialogue and further the transparency that is a cornerstone of our approach to sustainability. And we continue to remind governments that their role extends beyond MBMs. Their role in supporting initiatives such as implementing the Single European Sky and the commercialization of sustainable bio fuels for aviation is critical to the industry’s long-term sustainability,” said Tyler.

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