With a looming recession, the world is heading to another downturn period. Will the air cargo industry again rise to the occasion and be the bright spot in the dark times? Amar More, CEO and Co-Founder of Kale Logistics Solutions, discusses the role of digitisation and how it can save the industry during disastrous situations.
The pandemic highlighted the role of air cargo for Airports, airlines and most air industry stakeholders. In fact, it was air cargo that kept the aviation industry afloat. The focus brought on air cargo by the pandemic is one of the biggest boons the industry has received. The winds of digitisation are blowing fast in the industry now. Airports that hitherto were happy to play the role of landlords (barring a few exceptions); can actually play the anchor role in improving efficiencies and ensuring sustainability in air cargo operations. The Airport can drive the digitisation of the community through Airport Cargo Community platforms, which are digital platforms that facilitate information exchange between the air cargo stakeholders. The Airports are in the best position to do that because they are the neutral entities, a dominant player and someone with a significant interest in growing the cargo business and sustainably creating more jobs. The Airports effectively rolling out community platforms can take the digitisation of the industry to a completely different level, thereby facilitating and growing trade.
Saving our planet for the future generation is undoubtedly everybody’s responsibility, and I feel very strongly about it. The industry has already been contributing to pollution, deforestation, etc. However, technology has a huge role to play in decarbonising the industry. While the efforts around sustainable fuels and electric vehicles help, the elephant in the room that no one wants to discuss is the massive amount of paperwork still in the industry. An average air cargo shipment does carry around 124 copies of the paper, and imagine the kind of deforestation this must be causing annually.
Moreover, the long queues around the Airports and trucks spending more than the necessary time at the docks emitting CO2 further harm the environment. Using Airport Cargo Community Systems, both the above problems can be effectively solved, thus helping to decarbonise the industry. Some countries still do not recognise the need to save the planet, but I think global pressure is building to make this issue come to the CenterStage.
Logistics is seen as the last dark continent for technology; I see this changing in the immediate future. You can feel the winds of change. The pandemic has further driven digitisation in the industry, and I expect community systems to revolutionise how cargo is handled at Airports and Ports irrevocably in the near future. 2023 is seen as an optimistic year but for the looming recession scenario. With the focus on AI and other tech advancements, the pressure to innovate and enable smart processes will take place at a rapid pace.
Additionally, addressing staff shortages will be a major concern for transporters. The buzz on sustainability, rising cyber-attacks and addressing them and efficiency improvement will be other areas of concern for the industry folks. Sea-Air Corridor has the potential to position countries and regions as attractive destinations for global and regional trade.
The raison detre (reason for existence) of the air cargo industry is Speed. But with cargo spending close to 85% of the time on the ground, there’s much more still to be achieved for the industry. I firmly believe that technology will be the theme of the industry going forward. Technology will transform this industry and strengthen the core reason for its existence–Speed. Speed doesn’t just mean customer satisfaction; it also means you can handle more cargo within the given physical infrastructure. So, the long-term strategy of air cargo should be digitisation for transformation.