Transport and logistics service providers are vulnerable to the undermining effect of criminal activity. Air freight, because it is mainly high-quality and expensive products that are transported by air.
Since the early 2000s industry bodies such as International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and IATA have been pushing for 100 per cent cargo inspection. This measure was to tackle the rampant utilization of air freighters for illegally transporting hazardous cargo, and pervasive cargo theft. In addition to this, recently cyber-attacks are being cited as a major challenge for airport authorities with the increased dependency on technology.
Even though, cargo community systems are becoming a norm in several airports, there is reluctance too among the stakeholders on compromising their business data. In a nutshell, enabling air cargo safety through technology adoption is top priority, but stakeholders question the safety of cargo community systems and cargo management systems.
Here is a note on tackling this notion and how technology intervention itself shows the way ahead.
Challenges in terms of air cargo safety
The air cargo industry is growing exponentially and still there is a dent in terms of safety. Here are some of the common challenges which the industry faces in terms of safety and security of cargo.
Illegal transportation of hazardous cargo
According to media reports, lithium batteries and other hazardous materials are reportedly being transferred through air cargo illegally. Several cases have been registered in North America, Europe and other regions. The disturbing fact is that the authorities couldn’t trace the loading of hazardous material in the first place. Such unrecorded loading is detrimental to the entire ecosystem as damage would be in large scale.
Cargo theft has been a challenge for the past few decades in the industry. However, post the pandemic outbreak, the numbers are rising gradually. Some major airports in North America and Amsterdam are reporting increasing numbers of cargo theft incidents and the number is going up year after year.
Tampering of data
Revenue leakage is a potential threat for ground handlers and terminal operators in an airport ecosystem. The major reason for revenue leakage is due to tampering of data submitted manually. This is not only causing revenue leakage, but also leading to lack of integrity in data sharing among the stakeholders, which in turn is creating duplicate data.
Technology Intervention to tackle this scenario
While technology adoption is seen as the only alternative, deploying cargo community systems and single window systems are not only the ultimate transformation drivers. Some point solutions driving point level transformations too can bring in the necessary change.
Monitoring of cargo loaded
With technology intervention comes transparency in the entire ecosystem. For example, screening of cargo will be automated, and all cargo loaded into the aircraft will be recorded. Doing so, the authorities can have control over the entire cargo flow and eliminate illegal flow of cargo. In such a case, sharing of advance cargo information to all relevant stakeholders will make a lot of difference.
Cargo trace & tracking to thwart cargo theft
In order to thwart cargo theft, having 100 per cent visibility of cargo movement is highly essential. However, an airport ecosystem is considered to be a blackhole by several landside stakeholders. Thus, some of the regions in an airport becomes a blind spot and makes way for cargo theft.
IoT enabled data protection
To eliminate data tampering, it is essential to enable data protection for all individual devices as well as connected systems. And an IoT enabled framework is necessary to implement this process level changes. In turn, IoT will eliminate fragmented systems and eliminate attempts of hacking in individual as well as connected devices. Several IoT enabled platforms are PLACI compliant and meets the recent EU ICS2 regulation.
Technology adoption is definitely the future. But the penetration has to be 100 per cent so that the entire ecosystem is benefitting. On the other hand, 100 per cent penetration is also essential to ensure zero data tampering and completely transparent operational ecosystem in airports cargo complexes.