Slowly but surely, the air cargo industry has been adopting electronic documentation.
As reported by Air Cargo World, the International Air Transport Association has revealed that the use of e-Airway Bills has reached a level of 10.2 percent as of October. Previously, the IATA had predicted that usage would have been double that by this time. As a result, the organization has adjusted its targets: it now aims for 22 percent penetration by 2014 and 80 percent by 2016.
The main benefit of e-Airway Bills is that they remove the necessity of dealing with paper Airway Bills. The result is more accurate and efficient cargo shipping with fewer errors and lower operational costs.
Despite these benefits, not everyone has been on board with this transition. Guillaume Drucy, head of cargo e-business management at IATA, told the news source that Chinese airfreight markets in particular have been resistant to the new technology. However, that may slowly be changing.
"Chinese Customs are going step by step but aim to introduce electronic declarations by 2015," Drucy said. "Guangzhou is making good progress, we have done a pilot project inbound into Shanghai and we're planning an outbound pilot. It doesn't mean the whole market can suddenly open up, but it is helping define how e-messaging will be implemented."
Drucy added that the adoption of a multilateral e-Airway Bills agreement earlier this year has led to a jump in the number of airlines that have adopted the technology.