eAWB360 is an IATA initiative to overcome the traditional paper-based documentation of air freight shipments and motivate the cargo community to transmit consignment data 100 percent electronically. An approach, supported by numerous airports, carriers, forwarding agents and ground handlers worldwide. Now a meeting took place at Hamburg Airport to push the eAWB360 issue further ahead and standardize operating processes. We spoke with Beverly Seebach, Manager Campaigns and Regional Cargo Manager at IATA.
CFG: Mrs Seebach, which were the main results of the Hamburg meeting. Kindly summarize.
BS: The IATA eAWB360 HAM Kick-Off event brought together over 50 participants representing all stakeholders involved in the air freight process – airlines, forwarders, GHAs and customs as well as their IT providers.
The gathering served to, for one thing, present the goal of the initiative: coordinated industry engagement including the support of a common e-AWB SOP (standard operating procedure) and coordinated communication to use e-AWB as the preferred means of shipping cargo to all destinations from HAM.
The event also gave Hamburg Airport (speaker Alexander Laukenmann, Managing Director Hamburg Airport) the opportunity to present the airport and HACC (Hamburg Airport Cargo Center) with its state-of-the-art technology. The key message and main take-away communicated by all speakers: Hamburg Airport, CHAMP Cargosystems, LH Cargo, and Swissport Cargo Services, is that one thing is definite: digital transformation has become imperative for all businesses, including logistics and air freight and e-AWB is one step in that direction.
Hamburg is next to Frankfurt and Munich the third German airport to implement eAWB360 on a binding basis. From your impressions, what is the current status, which work still needs to be accomplished and when will HAM be 100% eAWB360 compliant?
Global e-AWB penetration is continuing to increase. July 2018 saw an increase by 6% over July 2017 with Europe leading in the percentage increase month by month. Hamburg has a high potential to
reach the global target of 68% by December 2018, based on the readiness of key airlines at HAM and community support.
How did ground handlers, representative of airlines and freight forwarders, participating in the HAM meet, react to the IATA eAWB360 approach?
Attendees of the event agreed that this “kick-off” is the start for paperless processes at HAM and that further meetings and workshops – one-on-one or in smaller groups – will accelerate the shift from their traditional paper processes towards technology-oriented and digital operations.
eAWB is about simplifying the air cargo process - removing the requirement for a paper AWB and adapting a process in which there is no longer a need to print, handle or archive the paper.
The key is to develop a “paperless” air cargo industry to move to a true digital mindset including managers and employees. This “corporate culture” will enable a digital transformation and will drive paperless processes.
Interview: Heiner Siegmund