Air cargo sustainability is not necessarily anything new. Still, if the COVID-19 pandemic has taught anything, it is that the dialogue on sustainability is ready for a much-needed revamp. When we talk about industry restart, we cannot expect to go back to how air cargo worked six months ago. On one side, the industry has demonstrated its crucial contribution to society at large, transporting much needed pharmaceuticals, personal protection equipment and medical devices to those in need. On the other side, aviation is coming under particular scrutiny with many voices asking for sustainable growth and the reduction of carbon footprints.
With the evolution of technology in the past years, we are reaching the point when not investing in sustainable initiatives is the most expensive option. Those who invest in innovative solutions during an economic downturn not only outperform their competitors in the recovery period but also well prepared for the pandemic crisis.
Sustainability is the key to Air Cargo industry survival – Through the keyhole of ACS
Airport Cargo Community System (ACS) is a web based electronic collaborative platform to streamline and map the entire air freight process flow. It simplifies and modernizes operations by improving communication between ground handlers, freight forwarders, customs brokers and others with airport authority, customs, other government agencies, regulators etc. All these communication takes place online through a common EDI platform which is in line with regulatory guidelines.
At Mumbai Airport, sustainability and business go hand in hand
For GVK Mumbai International Airport Limited ‘s (MIAL) sustainability is ingrained in the airport’s core business strategy and a key part of its goal to become the best airport in the world. Being one of the most challenging and land constrained airports in the world when it comes to operations. Increasing dwell time of trucks waiting to reach cargo terminal and presence of millions of paper copies circulated were among the key challenges they faced. These two factors alone contributed heavily to environmental degradation. Therefore, inculcating sustainability practices were if utmost importance.
GMAX – Next-Gen responsible ACS
MIAL is the first airport in India to embrace digitization and implemented Airport Cargo Community System (ACS) called GMAX. It brought about digital transformation in the way stakeholders interacted with each other while moving shipments out of Mumbai. Complete automation and digitization of cargo operations by connecting multiple stakeholders along the Air Cargo value chain, seamless Cargo movement and facilitation of electronic communication between pertinent stakeholders including Customs; redefined and consolidated operations.
Sustainability Impact – Economical
This is the first Airport Cargo Community in India.The concept to paperless trade at an airport was introduced through GMAX eight years ago. The platform has been improving continuously with new features being added regularly. The platform is bringing all the participants in the air cargo supply chain (Shipper to Consignee) under one roof enabling them to exchange information and documents electronically.
The GMAX platform has put an end to the current manual processes, multiple data entries and improved transparency in the supply chain. The resultant efficiency is in turn providing tangible savings in both time and money.
GMAX as a platform is not transaction centric but stakeholder centric. It focuses on the end users across the supply chain as opposed to just one entity like a forwarder or an airline or an airport.
Sustainability Impact – Social
With GMAX, here are some of the economical impacts on business for MIAL and the industry: Cargo dwell time – It reduced by 60% for imports and 50% for exports.
Cargo processing time – for 2019 the time taken to process the export cargo was 6:52 mins and imports was 9:42 min. These are record figures with speedy processing times.
Improvement in cargo volumes handled – export cargo has increased by 43% and imports by 35% in the last 4 years.
Key account management – with GMAX data, MIAL was able to map its top 5 customers and dedicated special account managers and priority services for them. This enable them to attract more business from these top customers, where they directed cargo to Mumbai from other nearby airports due to better service received.
Dwell Time gradually reduced by nearly 50% at the import and export operations. In addition to this, presence of 7 million paper copies were eliminated diligently in due course of time.
With all these sustainable practices in place, MIAL is not only achieving volume growth without expansion, but also setting a sustainability benchmark for airports globally with its flagship dwell time reduction and paperless trade achievements.