Amsterdam’s digital pre-notification tool has been expanded to include FWB OK, which checks for missing information on the Freight Waybill. Lufthansa Cargo is among the first users, Air Cargo Netherlands (ACN) says in its communication.
The pre-notification tool through eLink went live on 01SEP21, speeding up the logistics chain. eLink is a generic system, which expands the pre-notification tool by capturing additional inputs. For instance, the freight forwarder working with pre-notification, receives a warning when FWB data are missing. As this can be remedied, neither the driver delivering consignments, nor the handler have to take extra measures.
ACN quotes Rick van Wijk of WFS, who says that the new addition leads to fewer consignments being delivered at the booth. Mr. van Wijk works a lot with Lufthansa Cargo, which has been using a unique system (PreCheck) since the end of 2020, checking e-AWB consignments at an early stage to declare them Ready for Carriage (RFC).
According to Lufthansa Cargo’s Jean de Boo, KLM, too, is developing a similar tool. “PreCheck checks if the FWB/FHL (consolidation list) is technically compliant (according to IATA specifications), and with the product and/or customs regulations as well. The user is then automatically sent an e-mail or sms should data be missing, such as emergency telephone numbers for pharma consignments, tax or hs (harmonized system) codes. This is done totally independently of the physical acceptance of the cargo.”
Less susceptible to interference
The ultimate aim of eLink is to abolish the truck stop at the documentation booth. In the best scenario, truckers can drive straight to the unloading dock after having checked-in with their ACN-pass.
The pre-notification system is still work-in-progress and has led to new wishes due to its increased use. “Sometimes, the information in the FWB is incomplete, or a pre-notification does not reach the airline correctly,” says Hans van Roest of the Amsterdam community system, Cargonaut. “This does not happen very often, but you want to prevent drivers from continuing their trip to then be informed that something is not right at the handler’s.”
Feed-back for all parties
The system did also not pay attention to extraordinary regulations for specific consignments. Countries as well as airlines worldwide use their own regulations, which cannot be applied generically, even if handlers are supposed to check them. Sometimes, the specificalities of the cargo demand extra data, explains Johan Star, project manager at the Smart Cargo Mainport Program. “We want to receive the pre-sent information for all types and measures of consignments 100% correctly and accurately.”
FWB OK allows handlers to intervene if data are missing. “If a driver has 10 consignments and 1 appears to be incorrect, everything is held up. Now the handler can make it clear in advance if they will accept the consignment on behalf of the airline or have to ask the forwarder to correct the FWB information first before they allow the cargo to be delivered.”
Lufthansa Cargo’s PreCheck is connected to eLink by an API (application programming interface), so that the RFC-check status is visible in the eLink portal. Mr. de Boo hopes that PreCheck wil be better brought to the attention of customers who do not use it yet.
For the Amsterdam air cargo community, FWB OK is another step towards full digitization of export cargo at Schiphol, eventually creating a green lane allowing truckers to skip the booths.
Marcel Schoeters in Amsterdam
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