Post the acute COVID-19 pandemic times; the Air Cargo industry witnessed an exponential surge as well as plummeting demand with economic headwinds persisting. In both cases, it is believed that the industry hardly grasped the opportunity, and due to the same, it is still facing the challenges it had during the pre-pandemic times. The missing part of the puzzle is the lack of 100 per cent technology adoption among the stakeholders. While regulatory authorities like IATA have repeatedly vouched for technology adoption, stakeholders show reluctance due to the cost factor and various other reasons. After two years of cargo units being the lifeblood of many an airline, the industry should, in theory, have a new-found appreciation for a function that has historically played second fiddle to the air passenger business.
Nevertheless, the industry has to accept that technology intervention is becoming inevitable, and at one point in time, they might not have a choice but to mandate digitization. Therefore, to ensure business continuity for all stakeholders, it is essential to think about digitization on a sustainable level.
Technology differentiation is becoming a major selling proposition in the air cargo sector. The air cargo market is a $102 billion market that is still offline and non-transparent. It takes a forwarder hours to get quotes from airlines, bookings aren’t made online, documents aren’t digital, and communication is asynchronous. As per TIACA’S 2022 INSIGHT Report released this March, even with companies in the aviation sector continuing to improve efficiencies and accelerate their digital transformation, 34 per cent have yet to start their digital transformation. Digitalization could be a potential game-changer and a huge catalyst for the fortunes of the air cargo industry is a given.
Increased stakeholder collaboration, innovation, agility, and digitalization are key priorities in air cargo. The exponential rise of e-commerce globally also propels airlines and other stakeholders to adopt end-to-end integrated Logistics solutions for delivering e-commerce shipments. All this call for Cargo-friendly Airports that exemplify a cargo-centric approach in their infrastructure, digital platforms for cargo community collaboration and operations which focus on trade facilitation.
The global air cargo handling industry is embracing a technology revolution that includes shifting from the substantial use of legacy mainframe systems to more tailored systems to improve efficiency and transparency. The latest technological advancement enables air cargo systems to streamline operations, reduce costs and optimize efficiency. The industry also perceives standardization as the key to unlocking its full potential. Industry standards minimize cost and complexity by simplifying common procedures.
They enable handlers to collaborate smoothly with other stakeholders such as Airports, Airlines, Cargo agencies, Freight Forwarders, and Governments. Standards promote innovation and provide a better experience for all parties engaged in the air transportation supply chain. Ground handlers and airlines are expanding and enriching their services and continuously seeking to improve business performance. The crux of the matter lies in evolving industry processes and enabling end-to-end integration between airlines, ground handlers, and other stakeholders to deliver better customer experiences.
And this is where technology has a critical role to play. Systems that enable warehouse operations automation to integrate mission-critical stakeholder systems onto a single platform driving holistic supply chain transparency and replacing paper-based processes and activities heavily reliant on manual intervention with mobile technologies and digital formats, is a game-changer for cargo operations.
Amidst the pandemic, technology has opened new doors of optimism, innovation, and assurance for the air cargo sector. In fact, the pandemic has changed the way businesses look at markets, customers, employees, and the environment. The rhythm of sustainability is catching up significantly. Sustainability is now seen as a megatrend, according to the World Economic Outlook January 2022. It’s no longer just important but a necessity. There is a perception by some airlines, Airports, and ground handlers that aviation’s reputation comes from the passenger business, so there is no need to invest in Cargo sustainable solutions as these are not visible. We must collectively change this situation.
The air freight industry has a responsibility to customers, employees, and future generations to develop solutions creating a positive impact on people and the planet in ways that enhance business success, which in turn will lead to enhanced global prosperity. The intervention of Cargo Community Systems enables electronic communication between multiple supply chain stakeholders. Such technology interventions add momentum to the global sustainability drive. They are a key influencer for Airports, Ports, and global supply chains to go paperless, improve digital connectivity, and reduce carbon emissions.