Airport Cargo Community System – guaranteeing the future of air cargo

Airport Cargo Community System – guaranteeing the future of air cargo



Industry restart


Air cargo sustainability is not necessarily anything new. Still, if the COVID-19 pandemic has taught anything, it is that the dialogue on sustainability is ready for a much-needed revamp. When we talk about industry restart, we cannot expect to go back to how air cargo worked six months ago. On one side, the industry has demonstrated its crucial contribution to society at large, transporting much-needed pharmaceuticals, personal protection equipment and medical devices to those in need. On the other side, aviation is coming under particular scrutiny, with many voices asking for sustainable growth and the reduction of carbon footprints.


With the evolution of technology in the past years, we are reaching the point when not investing in sustainable initiatives is the most expensive option. Those who invest in innovative solutions during an economic downturn not only outperform their competitors in the recovery period but are also well-prepared for the pandemic crisis.


Sustainability is the key to air cargo industry survival – Through the keyhole of ACS


Airport Cargo Community System (ACS) is a web-based electronic collaborative platform to streamline and map the entire air freight process flow. It simplifies and modernises operations by improving communication between Ground Handlers, Freight Forwarders, Customs Brokers and others with the Airport Authority, Customs, other Government agencies, regulators, etc. All these communications take place online through a common EDI platform which is in line with regulatory guidelines.


At Mumbai Airport, sustainability and business go hand in hand


For GVK Mumbai International Airport Limited‘s (MIAL) sustainability is ingrained in the Airport’s core business strategy and a key part of its goal to become the best Airport in the world. Being one of the most challenging and land-constrained Airports in the world when it comes to operations. The increasing dwell time of trucks waiting to reach the cargo terminal and the presence of millions of paper copies circulated were among the key challenges they faced. These two factors alone contributed heavily to environmental degradation. Therefore, inculcating sustainability practices were of utmost importance.


GMAX – Next-Gen responsible ACS


MIAL is the first Airport in India to embrace digitisation and implemented Airport Cargo Community System (ACS) called GMAX. It brought about a digital transformation in the way stakeholders interacted with each other while moving shipments out of Mumbai. Complete automation and digitisation of cargo operations by connecting multiple stakeholders along the Air Cargo value chain, seamless Cargo movement and facilitation of electronic communication between pertinent stakeholders, including Customs; redefined and consolidated operations.


Sustainability impact 


The first Airport Cargo Community in India where the concept of paperless trade at an Airport was introduced through GMAX eight years ago. The platform has been improving continuously, with new features being added regularly. The platform brings all the participants in the air cargo supply chain (Shipper to Consignee) under one roof, enabling them to exchange information and documents electronically.


The GMAX platform has put an end to the current manual processes and multiple data entries and improved transparency in the supply chain. The resultant efficiency is, in turn, providing tangible savings in both time and money. GMAX as a platform is not transaction-centric but stakeholder centric. It focuses on the end users across the supply chain as opposed to just one entity, like a Forwarder or an Airline or an Airport. With GMAX, here are some of the economical impacts on business for MIAL and the industry: Cargo dwell time – It reduced by 60% for imports and 50% for exports.


  • Cargo processing time: for 2019, the time taken to process the export cargo was 6:52 mins, and imports were 9:42 mins. These are record figures with speedy processing times.
  • Improvement in cargo volumes handled: export cargo has increased by 43% and imports by 35% in the last 4 years.
  • Key account management: with GMAX data, MIAL was able to map its top 5 customers and dedicated special account managers and priority services for them. This enabled them to attract more business from these top customers, where they directed cargo to Mumbai from other nearby Airports due to better service received.


Dwell time gradually reduced by nearly 50% at the import and export operations. In addition to this, the presence of 7 million paper copies was eliminated diligently in due course of time.


Way Forward


With all these sustainable practices in place, MIAL is not only achieving volume growth without expansion but also setting a sustainability benchmark for Airports globally with its flagship dwell time reduction and paperless trade achievements.