Lufthansa Cargo has plans on their table targeting forwarding agents to pay fines for shipments based on their continued use of paper air waybills. Some time ago forwarders were urging LH
Cargo to offer them a financial bonus if they (the agents) were to implement e-AWBs into their systems. These hopes are dashed after the carrier decided to introduce fees for paper
Moreover CargoForwarder Global was informed by sources close to the case that the freight carrier is in advanced negotiations for upping its capacity by leasing or purchasing an additional Triple Seven Freighter.
The new e-AWB scheme, announced by LH Cargo last Thursday at the fringes of a ‘Cargovention’ named symposium in Frankfurt, will be tentatively launched in April and increased in October,
confirmed Alexis von Hoensbroech, LH Cargo head of Products and Sales. It can be assumed that it is primarily an educational, not financial motive that led to this decision: to up the number of
consignments documented electronically (e-AWB) in the fastest possible manner.
Thumbscrews instead of rebates
Mr von Hoensbroech indirectly confirmed this, blaming the industry of being too traditional and somewhat resistant to innovation. “This is a shame,” exclaimed the manager in a sudden emotional outburst, referring to thought-provoking figures: “For the first time since the introduction of electronic air waybills, we just surpassed the 50 percent mark,” he stated. “It’s a disgraceful result,” he called a spate a spate, after e-AWBs were first introduced about ten years ago. “It well illustrates the general slowness of innovations in the air freight industry and the inertia of many companies,” he criticized.
Since year-long appeals by freight carriers, IATA, TIACA and others produced only meager results, LH Cargo now decided to put thumbscrews on the industry by having their old school customers pay fees for paper documented air waybills.
The freight crane’s e-AWB roadmap is as follows: During the introductory phase, beginning 4th April and lasting six months, the Frankfurt-based cargo carrier will charge a single euro or respectively one US dollar for printed AWB’s. However, as of next October, the fee will go up to 12 euros / USD per shipment.
Latecomers will be punished
Demanding penalty payments for paper documented shipment data maybe sounds to some like a new variant of a rip-off to pour additional cash in the carrier’s pocket. However, when considering the thousands of fruitless attempts to convince particularly many mid-size and smaller forwarding agents to modernize their processes and switch from paper to electronics, the path Lufthansa Cargo has now embarked on seems to be the most promising, market experts hold. Once accomplished on a broader level, data transfers and air freight flows will speed up considerably, the error causes will be reduced, and the entire air cargo processes will be largely simplified. So it’s a win-win all around.
Mr von Hoensbroech concluded by stating: “As to the e-AWB issue, I expect that we will come close to 100 percent before the year ends.”
New capacity initiative
On the sidelines of the Frankfurt-held ‘Cargovention’ meeting credible sources confirmed to CargoForwarder Global a far advanced initiative kicked off by Lufthansa Cargo to either purchase or lease another Boeing 777F. Provided the involved parties come to terms, which is expected, the Triple Seven freighter will be added to AeroLogic’s fleet and not fly in the traditional crane colors. Leipzig, Germany-based AeroLogic is a 50/50 percent joint venture of DHL Express and Lufthansa Cargo.
Consequently, AeroLogic will become the operator, but the aircraft is expected to fly exclusively for LH Cargo, covering the crane’s global network.
In contrast, eight of the current B777Fs belonging to the AeroLogic fleet carry packages on behalf of DHL Express from days one to five, whereas on weekends they are covering LH Cargo routes.
Two additional Triple Seven AeroLogic freighters of the carrier’s current ten units comprising B777F fleet are fully utilized by DHL Express during the entire week (7/7).