At the latest circuit of Air Industry events we heard from a number of people asking the same types of questions – what information will consignees require the air freight sector to exchange in 12 months, 5 years or 10 years time? How well prepared is the industry to deliver?

The Chicken or the Egg

Before we even take a look at what information will be required there’s a question by many if IATA and Cargo 2000 should dictate the terms to lead the way in terms of messaging or is that the job of the technology companies?

I don’t believe that this is a one or the other answer.  IATA and Cargo 2000 play a critical role in trying to establish procedures and messaging formats as well as helping to set the standard for the industry. Technology companies have a significant amount of knowledge that can help set a realistic course for standards development and implementation for the air cargo and other industries. There has been some additional involvement from technology companies as the XML standards were developed and in my opinion, this needs to expand and continue.

When it comes to development of new standard, programs and processes – as those are created it’s the job of all parties involved to ensure that they are accessible and affordable for the entire industry in order to encourage adoption.

After E-Freight – what’s next?

E-freight’s principals, potential from data collection and flexibility of dissemination of this data with new technologies is a great path forward for the industry.  As long as the program remains flexible and inclusive of all participants from a technology and cost perspective it lays the foundation for the collaborative data management world that is on our doorstep.

We are moving into a world where the movement of the data is as important as the movement of the goods. Movement of data and goods are both critical to meet regulatory requirements, multi-party supply chains, increased visibility requirements and cost management for transportation and inventory purposes in the shipping community.

Once bidirectional translation and message version control between legacy Cargo Interchange Message Procedures (Cargo IMP) and the new Cargo-XML schema becomes widespread,   the flexibility to provide enhanced data and additional information will allow for easier and more affordable methods of implementing data exchanges to meet the market’s requirements.

Looking Ahead

As we look to the next five to ten years what we know for sure is that more detailed shipment information will be required to be exchanged much earlier in the process. This will be driven by government regulations as cargo security expands across the globe. The expectation is that government bodies will realize that getting information from carriers and Forwarders will still not be enough to do complete security filing.

There will be a concerted effort to get more information from the shippers/ manufacturers.  Filing will need to be done by multiple parties and some parties will only become aware that they need to file very late in the process.

Just imagine a scenario where a shipper is shipping to Mexico but the forwarder or carrier decides to route the goods through the US – the question is who will manage and report all possible scenarios.  This will mean multi-party filing and information requests. It will cause a paradigm shift from traditional messaging to synchronous communication (If you have the correct clearance, you can query my system and get the information you need).

At the end of the day these requirements call for an industry wide obligation to have more collaborative multi-party business processes and the technology that supports it across air freight carriers and anyone participating in the air cargo ecosystem.

Written by Scott Sangster

Vice President, Global Logistics Network at Descartes