Carriers are continuing to require digital data instead of paper in the air cargo supply chain.  One recent highlight is Lufthansa’s introduction of a per paper air waybill fee for applicable tradelanes. Starting at €1 and increasing to €12 beginning Oct 1st 2018, the airline is looking to leverage digital information to enable better communication and improve data quality. The eAWB is a fundamental step to Lufthansa Cargo that currently handles approximately 1.5 million air waybills per year with half of this number currently eAWB-enabled.

Why the eAWB?

The electronic airway bill is the digital form of a paper airway bill (AWB). This critical document serves as the foundation for electronic communication between shippers, carriers, ground handling agents, and more. It is currently the preferred means to ship air cargo by numerous airlines and air cargo carriers.

With eAWB in place, airlines can benefit from enhanced regulatory compliance by transferring manifest information to customs authorities prior to wheels up.

Leading air forwarders have also realized the potential of the eAWB, and view the initiative as an opportunity to differentiate service offerings and improve processes. Some of the key benefits of the eAWB including for forwarders include:

  • Paper On-Demand:  For those trade lanes and shipments that still require paper, hard copies of an eAWB can be created as needed.
  • Messaging: Digital messages can be streamed directly into Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions or to customers.
  • Accuracy: Added data integrity can lead to better practices and error-free billing.
  • Data Entry: The eAWB can provide a foundation to further automate operations.
  • Recordkeeping: With electronic information on hand, it’s easier to retrieve information on-demand.
  • Customer Service: Access to digital information can help to provide added visibility and boost communication.

How Descartes Can Help

Descartes has been helping forwarders communicate electronically with air carriers for over

25 years. Our solution is used and trusted by carriers and forwarders worldwide. As the global leader in electronic air cargo (system-to-system) messaging, our solution seamlessly connects to nearly every air carrier, can integrate with any back-office system or serve as a stand-alone application.

We also encourage you to review the below assets and tools on the eAWB:

Resources for Forwarders

  • eBook: The eAWB for Forwarders – Register to download an interactive guide developed specifically for air freight forwarders.  The piece includes infographics, critical analyses, a self-assessment worksheet and more.
  • eBook: The eAWB for Carriers – Register to download a detailed, informative piece that examines the challenges and benefits of adopting the eAWB, tips and techniques, industry trends and more.

Please contact us to schedule a demo to discover which of our world-class solutions are the right match for your business.

Written by Jos Nuijten

President, Network Integration Strategy