14-Mar-2018 7:29 AM

IATA outlines priorities for the future of airfreight

IATA, at the World Cargo Symposium, highlighted (13-Mar-2018) the following priorities for the future success of the air cargo industry:

  • Accelerating digitisation of the supply chain: IATA is facilitating and supporting modernisation and transformation through the 'Simplifying the Business Cargo' programme. The association noted electronic air waybill (e-AWB) adoption reached nearly 53%. IATA global head of cargo Glyn Hughes said: "The implementation of e-AWB is slower than anybody - especially our customers - would like... the industry has agreed to amend a number of resolutions and recommended practices to make the e-AWB the default standard on enabled trade lanes. We can be optimistic that these should spur e-AWB efforts forward in 2018";
  • Enforcing lithium battery regulations: IATA noted mis-declared or non-compliant dangerous good shipments, especially involving lithium battery consignments, continue. Mr Hughes said: "Governments must step up enforcement of dangerous goods regulations and take a tougher stance against rogue shippers. This includes using their power to impose significant fines and custodial sentences on those violating the regulations";
  • More efficient trade facilitation: IATA reported an average customs clearance time of 1.41 days in 2017, with significant regional variation. Mr Hughes said: "This is too slow for businesses that compete on speed to meet their customer needs. We need to work together with governments to cut the red tape and facilitate faster, cheaper and easier trade". IATA called for governments to implement the following global standards:
    • The Montreal Convention 1999, which enables digital documentation in customs documentation. Key countries yet to implement the convention include Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, Ghana, Iran, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Uzbekistan and Vietnam;
    • Revisions to the World Customs Organisation's Kyoto Convention to facilitate smart border solutions that reduce complexity and cost;
    • The World Trade Organisation's Trade Facilitation Agreement, to make trade cheaper, faster and easier;
  • Developing the next generation of air cargo leaders: IATA said the ability of air cargo to reach its full potential will hinge upon the creation of a professional, skilled and sustainable workforce. IATA's 'Future Air Cargo Executives' programme aims to attract, retain and develop a diverse pool of young professionals. Mr Hughes commented: "A more collaborative and concerted effort towards developing a sustainable workforce is required across out industry".

Mr Hughes also called for "a strong collective voice against the building headwinds of protectionist measures". [more - original PR]

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