SMALL- and medium-sized air freight forwarders will be able to create, send and manage electronic air waybills (e-AWB), house bills and electronic consignment security declarations, using a new online platform to be launched by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
This low-cost online tool, eAWBLink, also allows forwarders to receive shipment status updates from airlines electronically, track shipment status and receive shipment alerts. Documents can also be printed from the system. Partners involved in the development of the tool are Mphasis, Descartes and Hewlett Packard Enterprises, reported Aircargonews.
"eAWBLink provides a window to over 120 carriers through our industry partners. Overall the e-AWBLink is a tool that will simplify day-to-day business," IATA said in a promotional video. "The goal of the eAWBLink is to allow forwarders to switch to the e-AWBs and join the e-cargo community."
The launch of the new tool comes as the air cargo industry continues to struggle with the adoption of electronic technology. Smaller forwarders and Customs agents in less developed parts of the world are often accused of holding up the development of electronic processes because they lack the relevant systems.
The latest figures from IATA show that e-AWB adoption has continued to improve this year, although at a slower pace than hoped. At the start of the year, e-AWBs accounted for 37.2 per cent of the total number of air waybills processed. By September this figure had edged up to 42 per cent, but reaching IATA's target of 52 per cent penetration by year-end looks unlikely.
Source : HKSG.