A ‘roadmap for paperless air cargo’ has been created by the Global Air Cargo Advisory Group (GACAG) to accelerate the industry’s adoption of e-Cargo in 2013.

The Group previously announced its intention to collaborate towards the vision of an end-to-end paperless transportation process for air cargo and the new GACAG e-freight Roadmap outlines the approach, scope, and overall plan the GACAG members intend to promote to bring that vision to reality.

For the first time, the roadmap outlines a shared end-to-end industry approach, with clear leadership roles, around three core components, or Pillars:

• Pillar I:  Engaging regulators and governments worldwide to create an ‘e-freight route network’ with fully electronic customs procedures and where regulations support paperless shipments
• Pillar II:  Working collaboratively within the cargo supply chain to digitize the core industry transport documents, starting with the air waybill
• Pillar III:  Developing a plan to digitize the commercial and special cargo documents typically accompanying airfreight today, in or outside of the ‘Cargo pouch’
Michael Steen, Chairman of GACAG, said: “This new roadmap will form the basis to manage the e-freight initiative moving forward and fully integrates the work done previously in the context of the
e-freight project. It also identifies a number of areas where further work needs to be done in collaboration between the different associations that are members of GACAG and that represent the entire air cargo supply chain. This work includes standards, business process and other areas.”

Using the roadmap, GACAG members aim to create an environment, by the end of 2015, where the core transportation documents are paperless on at least 80% of the world’s trade lanes, and where the traditional cargo pouch accompanying the shipments would be removed for a large set of shipments. As part of this, a key goal will be to achieve 100% e-AWB by the same timeframe.

The move has been strongly welcomed by Des Vertannes, Head of Cargo for IATA, which began the e-cargo initiative.  IATA is one of the four founding members of GACAG along with the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA), the Global Shippers’ Forum (GSF), and The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA). He said: “This is a strong signal of the commitment of GACAG members to collaborate for an even safer, more secure, efficient and sustainable air cargo industry. The GACAG members hope that they will be joined in this vision by all forces in the global supply chain and look forward to working together with all concerned parties in this regard.”

Bill Gottlieb, a past president of FIATA and former chair of the GACAG E-commerce Task Force, added: “The industry is now comprehensively united in our objectives and timelines for e-freight and e-AWB. This sends a huge message to all industry participants and I am comfortable that this will lead to significant acceleration in adoption of e-Cargo in 2013. This is a perfect example of how we can be stronger through dialogue and collaboration.”

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