The Future of Air Cargo Handling with 360-degree Digitisation

The Future of Air Cargo Handling with 360-degree Digitisation


Imagine a world of cargo where shipments are talking to each other and move by themselves without human intervention. This imagination is soon to be a reality in the coming years, where air cargo will move autonomously from origin to destination without paper or human handling. As digitalisation accelerates the pace of change for Air Cargo, technology is now permeating through the entire supply chain. Driverless trucks, robotic handling, seamless document exchange and data cloud are transforming the way cargo is moved.
This change is spearheaded by technology adoption. Some experts also suggest that penetrating this growth rate is possible if stakeholders pursue technology adoption more seriously. Fluid exchange of information and documents from quotation to booking to all stakeholders and sharing real-time trade data on a common portal will ensure well-coordinated supply chain activities.

Use of advanced technologies

Whenever there is a talk about future, a fully automated environment is the abrupt thought. However, over the years nothing much has changed. This is because even though people talk about technology, they hardly accepted anything as it could cost them a major financial investment. Now the times are changing and stakeholders are gradually accepting the transformation. Use of advance technologies like bar code gate pass, secured payment gateways, RFID scanners make data transfer error free and seamless. Also, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence powered warehouse operations like load planning based on data from weight, dimensions, flight date and destination. ULD optimisation and bots to move cargo is already happening in full swing. Therefore, technology adoption is gradually evolving.

360 Degree integration

Integration and automation are becoming the key aspects of the entire supply chain operations. Well integrated systems like automatic weigh bridge which transmits data to the handlers’ system directly without any manual intervention. With 360 degree integration, the service standards can be defined with a mandatory framework so that the service providers adhere to the standards by default.

Wearables and mobility applications

During the pandemic, paperless trade was on the rise and mobility applications were leveraged to a large extent. Here wearable devices such as smartwatches were at play. For example, smartwatches and mobile phones can be used to send timely updates to security guards at the exit gates. By doing so, documents such as Vehicle Tokens, and Gate Passes can be digitally exchanged with all stakeholders in a unified portal. Going forward, experts believe that wearables such as smartwatches are going to be the most preferred mode of verification at in and out gates.

Safe and secure environment

While digitisation is seen as a boon, several stakeholders in a cargo complex are reluctant to go digital because of the rising cyber-attacks. According to a news report, the cyber-attacks in UK in October 2022 rose by 40 per cent compared to 2020. Therefore, logistics IT solutions providers are keenly looking to build a firewall and make it safer for all users simultaneously. Also, Pharma and Perishables are mapped with temperature sensors to monitor product efficacy. Any excursions can be alerted to the concern data loggers. This way the pharmaceutical companies can rely upon Air Cargo and transfer critical medicines on time.

Automated inspection systems

These systems use technology such as X-ray machines and sensors to inspect cargo for security and quality control purposes, reducing the need for manual inspections and improving the speed and accuracy of the inspection process. Therefore, physical inspection of each Cargo stack isn’t required.

Business performance tracking

Tracking business performance from time to time and understanding the evolving business scenario is pretty important. Experts believe that if the pandemic was predicted a few months before, then the hefty losses incurred could have been reduced. Also, by improving the regular mundane processes and reporting systems, business processes can be made seamless and effective. Currently, logistics IT solutions providers are tracking business performance with reports, and SLAs by leveraging business intelligence tools. Going forward, the same could evolve into a far more smarter system wherein the entire process flow is automated.

A bright future

Globally, Air Cargo service providers are leading the mantle ahead in terms of digitisation and in the coming years, Cargo terminals will be future proof and that is nothing but the new normal.