Sustainability Challenges in Air Cargo
Over the past few years, the emphasis on employing sustainable practices. Thanks to the overwhelming pollution which caused harm to the environment and the increasing freight volumes are the reason for the spiking pollution levels. It is believed that at least one tree could produce hundreds of paper reams and at least seven million copies of physical documents are involved in daily activities.
To subdue the excessive use of paper documents, digitizing the operations are seen as the best-fit solution. Well, digitization doesn’t mean operating with an enterprise solution as it would refrain digital activities to a Ground Handler/Freight Forwarder/Customs Broker etc. In such a case, Airport Cargo Community System has a larger role to play as it could reduce manual documentation heavily and automate processes on a micro/macro level. In turn, Airport Cargo Community System ensures sustainable practices by enabling practices to adhere to sustainability guidelines.
How does ACS help meet Sustainability Goals?
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.
The Need to Inculcate Sustainability Practices
GVK Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) is among the most potential airports in India. Being the busiest and the economic capital of India, surging volumes were a phenomenon at MIAL and its placement at the centre of the city ruled out the possibility of a geographic expansion. 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.
Achieving Sustainability Goals at Mumbai International Airport
MIAL was infact the first airport in India to embrace digitization and implemented Airport Cargo Community System. 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.
Kale’s ACS (GMAX) to Achieve Potential Goals
Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) is India’s busiest airport and an international Cargo hub dealing with over 1.43 million metric tons of Cargo per annum , 2000+ agents, 200+ airlines and a document volume in excess of 6,000 daily. As forward looking airport, MIAL believes that development of long-term strategies and investments to achieve a sustainable industry is a key to guaranteeing the future of air cargo. With objective it partnered with Kale Logistics Solutions – a global IT logistics solution provider to develop India’s first Airport Cargo Community System called GMAX.
GMAX not only promotes digitization of trade for the entire airport and its ecosystem, but also factors in several social, economical and environmental issues that cargo and its stakeholders have. One of the premise that GMAX is built to promote responsible air freight transport.
GMAX Helping to Meet Sustainability Goals
MIAL has embraced technology and innovation to accelerate the evolution of air cargo and bring efficiency and increased performance across the entire air cargo supply chain through GMAX. The community platform connects various stakeholders like Freight Forwarders, Transporters, Customs Brokers, Customs, Cargo Ground Handlers, Airlines and Importer/Exporter. Some of benefits experienced by these stakeholders are:
- Paperless processing of shipments thus eliminating the risk of losing valuable commercial information
- Eliminate travelling to various airline offices / airports for getting the carting stamps, paying terminal charges, submitting
- advance shipment information & getting vehicle tokens
- Savings in paper handling cost by elimination of multiple copies of AWB generated for acceptance at truck dock, Cargo
- screening & Carting Order
- Supports electronic Certificate of Origin
- Supports community initiatives like ACAS, PRECISE, PACT etc.
- Better productivity of trade/airport staff at the airport
- Digital records of events for audits
- Faster document and cargo processing at the airport
- Better security for the airport
- Reduced truck waiting time
- Reduction in malpractices / errors at the airport which results in loss to exchequer
- Advanced shipment visibility
- Efficient planning of warehouse activities
- Regulatory Compliance like e-freight
- Better operations planning
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.
This project is live with MIAL for the last 8 years. This cloud-based platform is used by importers, exporters, forwarders, customs brokers, cargo ground handlers, airlines, freight stations, customs, chambers of commerce, and transporters. It has several fulfilment mechanisms including web portal, system to system integration and bureau service. Most importantly most cargo community systems across the world is neutral, their parentage is either carriers or airports or forwarder networks so there is an inherent conflict of interest however GMAX have a completely neutral platform so there is no conflict of interest.
Some of the key benefits experienced by the users are:
- Business visibility
- Advance shipment information
- Business continuity during COVID-19 pandemic
- Integration with WhatsApp and mobile app
- Business intelligence from MIS, dashboards, customized reports
“Any industry change is initially resisted. However, we believe for technology to transform the way we work, certain new systems, processes and regulations have to be practiced. The community now understands the real-benefits that GMAXTM presents. 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 GMAXTM 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.”
– Manoj Singh, Senior Vice President & Head – Cargo at Mumbai International Airport Pvt Ltd – GVK