Data – the new oil for the air cargo industry. Share it or be left behind

Data – the new oil for the air cargo industry. Share it or be left behind

The phrase ‘data is the new oil’ has entered the world of freight logistics to suggest a commodity without which the industry grinds to a halt. That’s certainly one interpretation – many sectors of industry would become redundant if data stopped flowing. But there has always been data, and to understand the impact of the phrase, it needs to be put into context. Data is just like crude. It’s valuable, but if unrefined it cannot really be used.

The logistics industry has undergone rapid transformation. Driving this transformative journey is the focus on digitization and the constant emphasis on trade facilitation across the globe. While several operations got transformed into digital, still many of them remain disintegrated and manual. These disconnected processes make way for a lack of visibility and transparency in operations. In turn, the movement of cargo within the airport ecosystem is unknown.

In addition to this, a lack of disintegrated operations also causes delays and inefficiencies. According to an IATA study, curbing inefficiencies and delays are among the key factors which the industry stakeholders are eyeing to solve with digitization. Also, several industry veterans believe ensuring real-time data visibility and transparency in operations could be the best-fit solution.

 

How Air Cargo Community System can ensure Visibility and Transparency?
Air Cargo Community System is a next-gen platform powered by Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning. It enables electronic communications in airports between private transport operators (airlines, agents, freight forwarders, stevedores, freight depots), the private vicinity (precarriage and on-carriage, usually by road), importers and exporters, the airport authorities, Customs and other authorities.

Through its predictive and cognitive capabilities, all stakeholders could electronically communicate within themselves and with other stakeholders such as Airlines, Customs House Agents, Customs, Banks, and GHAs. It facilitates the movement of goods and information at the airport and aids in digital interactions, in conformance to initiatives around e-freight, e AWB, and e-CSD. e AWB i.e., electronic air waybill is gaining significant traction in the air cargo industry.

Here are certain capabilities that Air Cargo stakeholders could grasp with an Air Cargo Community System in place.

End-to-End Track & Trace
In the conventional process, movement of cargo was known when the cargo reached the next stakeholder in the line. Any delays at the freight forwarder’s or ground handler’s end could cause a delay in the entire logistics value chain. Whereas with a cargo community system, from the initiation of cargo from the exporter’s warehouse to delivery at the destination, milestone updates for each process are made available.

Rapid Operational Capabilities
With advanced information sharing, a cargo community system allows seamless resource handling capabilities at the terminal. Also, there is zero to less scope of truck congestion as the community platform allows book a specific time slot for the trucker to drive-in with the freight.

Mobility Use-Cases
As digitization is slowly becoming a norm in various other processes, the need for a mobility use-case in air cargo too is on the rise. Certain cargo community platforms have the option of operating functions at the comfort of a mobility application. With these mobility applications, inefficiencies and delays can be lowered significantly. To generate documents such as e AWB, mobility applications will have a large role to play. Already, the utility of applications offering e AWB has increased immensely in the last one year.

Paperless Trade
With sustainability becoming the buzzword across the globe in various industries, air freight logistics too, is now being pushed to the brink to follow sustainable development goals. With a cargo community platform, all the manual documentation processes are reduced or zeroed down significantly. We have electronic versions such as e AWB churning out which simplifies trade.

About the Author

Donna Mullins
Vice President of Kale Info Solutions (USA)

Donna Mullins is an industry veteran with close to four decades of experience in the logistics and supply chain industry. She held key positions in freight forwarding, customs brokering, and several other firms. Under her stewardship, companies expanded their global footprint and capabilities. In these four decades, she has been responsible for all facets of logistics business by preparing a robust System of Planning. Her stint also generated significant business and growth realizations. With her proven leadership skills, she spearheaded and managed import/export operations globally. Donna is affiliated –with regulatory bodies as an active member. These affiliations have put her in the position to help set the course of the logistics industry in North America.

As a member of these bodies at the national level, she has been communicating the policy changes and working hand in hand with CBP, BIS, FMC, TSA, and others. She is well-versed in the regulations and the other government agencies that can be involved in what seems like the most straightforward of transactions but in fact is very complicated. In Kale, she is on a mission of creating awareness on the need for digitization and community platforms on facilitating the same in the North American region.

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