Do Airports really need a Cargo Community System?

Do Airports really need a Cargo Community System?


No International or regional Air cargo discussion or conference is complete without a session or track on Digitization and Sustainability. But will digitization really drive this industry to the next level of growth and innovation? This is a question that we look for an answer in today’s blog…

Very few people know that a cargo community system around an airport or a port is a part of recommendation 33 from UNCEFACT under trade facilitation/single window framework. The benefits to an airport include getting high quality data on cargo for strategic as well as tactical decision making, understanding commodity flows, understanding infrastructure requirements based on the data.

It also has great ESG benefits with reduced truck congestions carbon emissions go down, with reduced paperwork huge number of trees can be saved annually. It also is a great tool for the airports to attract more cargo and hence create more jobs and contribute to the city’s economy. When cargo starts moving faster the requirement to create new physical infrastructure for more cargo goes down.

At some of the airports where Cargo Community System is implemented, there is enough evidence that the airport’s handling efficiency (tons/sqm t) going up 2.5 times which means those airports could handle more than twice the cargo in the same infrastructure. Airports are also being able to save around 1,000 trees per annum just by reducing 24 copies of paper per shipment (thanks to data moving digitally instead of on the paper).

The commercial counters at the airports for paperwork reduced from 9 to just 1 due to reduced paperwork at the airport. Just behind 300 trucks we noticed 9 million grams of CO2 emissions were saved. In some cases upto 80 per cent of data entry costs on the exports side were saved. The airports also saw the dwell times for trucks go down by 40 per cent. These are serious benefits for the airport as well as the community.

The community also significantly benefits with a system of this nature. Overall, for the forwarders, the paperwork reduces significantly, they can track their cargo sitting in their offices. For truckers, they can do more trips to the airport using the same truck thanks to the reduced wait times.

This also impacts profitability directly. For the airlines they can get a lot of help with their e-AWB / e-booking /e-CSD/ One record initiatives; more access to market. The airlines can reduce a lot of paperwork. Can support innovative products for their customers. For exporters and importers the benefits can be better visibility of shipments hence less inventory costs; better sustainability benefits and many more. In our estimates the community systems both air and ocean can save the trade over US$50 billion on an annual basis and can save around 625,000 trees annually.

By not having a Cargo Community System, airports may not be future-ready. The future is cloud, speed, customer centricity, sustainability, data and scalability. Cargo Community System will be the must-have for smart airports and will be conceived when airports are planned. The message from exporters importers is loud and clear, they will use the airports that can provide efficiency, visibility and be sustainable. So, the airports who want to wait and watch will surely be missing out on cargo business and will see cargo leaking to other airports. Without the Cargo Community System, airports will be like pagers which cannot function in the world of smartphones.