The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on the air cargo industry to accelerate modernization and focus on delivering high quality service. The call was made at the 11th World Cargo Symposium, which opened in Abu Dhabi on 14 March against a backdrop of cautious optimism for the global air cargo sector. After several years of virtually no growth, air cargo demand began to rise in the second half of 2016. January cargo performance showed a 7per cent growth in demand compared to the previous year.
“Listening to the customer has never been more important. The positive forces currently supporting growth are good news. But our customers are telling us that they expect more. Complicated and convoluted paper-based processes that are basically unchanged from the 16th century are still being used in air cargo today. Our customers pay a premium to ship by air and they rightly expect modern processes and high quality services,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
He focused on two key areas for industry transformation:
-) Simple modern electronic processes: The industry has been pursuing a digital process transformation known as e-freight for over a decade. A key element of e-freight is the market adoption of the e-air waybill. Global penetration has nearly reached 50 per cent and the industry is targeting 62 per cent by year-end on enabled trade lanes.
-) High Quality Services: “Two of the fastest growing and most profitable parts of the business are focused on meeting specific customer needs. These are e-commerce as well as time- and temperature-sensitive cargo such as pharmaceuticals. It’s a great example to illustrate that we are most successful when we understand and meet customer expectations with value-added solutions,” said de Juniac.
“Shippers today want responsive services based on intelligent systems able to self-monitor, send real-time alerts and respond to deviation. Technologically speaking, this is totally possible. The key to this and other innovations is using data efficiently and effectively. Finding solutions to unfulfilled (or even unrealized) expectations creates value for customers. And that propels a business forward,” said Alexandre de Juniac.