ONE Record was the topic of a panel discussion at the World Cargo Symposium in Istanbul this year, titled “Full implementation of IATA ONE Record by 2026. Are you ready?” CargoForwarder Global asked panelist and digital data doyen, Ashok Rajan, IBS Software’s Head of Cargo & Logistics Solutions for an opinion piece on topic. His view, shared here, is that data sharing will accelerate air cargo’s digital vision, if the industry pulls together.
Data Sharing: Industry-Wide Collaboration Will Expedite Air Cargo’s Digital Vision
At the recent World Cargo Symposium in Istanbul, there were fewer bigger points of conversation than IATA’s ONE Record data sharing standard, designed to transform the complex air freight supply chain by enabling all stakeholders to connect digitally. It is not hard to see why – for too long, the air cargo industry has been held back by legacy technology that has bred inefficiencies and slowed industry growth and innovation.
It is worth reflecting on the need for change. Consigning traditional, antiquated processes firmly to the past and delivering a digital framework that enables every part of the end-to-end transportation chain to see the same information on shipments, represents the next frontier of change in the industry and has the potential to deliver immeasurable benefits to the entire industry.
Visibility facilitates collaboration and innovation
Ensuring visibility and transparency through the whole value chain creates a foundation whereby airlines and their often complex chain of partners can easily collaborate. It also forms a strong platform for innovation by enabling free flow of data in an extensible manner, enabling air cargo to provide more tailored and purpose specific offerings to consumers. It becomes a platform for players at every stage of the value chain to develop new, collaborative services.
Creating an ecosystem of seamless data sharing will also make it easier to work together to analyze trends and create cutting-edge, mutually beneficial services for end customers. Effective data sharing delivers actionable insight into the whole supply chain, allowing every player to see how their operations are running and make genuinely informed business decisions that serve customers better and impact the bottom line. The whole industry grows, the customer experience is further enhanced, and demand is stimulated.
The brink of a new wave
ONE Record has brought us the brink of a new wave of innovation in air cargo. IATA’s goal of making the air cargo industry capable of sharing and exchanging data via ONE Record by January 2026, has the potential to transform our industry. Replacing the many manual, physical aspects of data with their digital twin for every shipment, will effectively transform the way we do business and expedite the digitalization of the sector – allowing innovation to thrive and herald a new era of technology-led collaboration.
However, effecting major, industry-defining change is never straightforward. The full impact of ONE Record will only be felt if the industry works together.
Rising tides and demonstrable KPIs
The old cliché that a rising tide lifts all boats really rings true in this instance. Coming together to discuss the challenges of ineffective data sharing, and the pinch points it puts on the supply chain, means we are far better placed to work collaboratively to remove them. Digitalizing air cargo is not a unilateral endeavor – it requires a unified approach to tackling a problem common to every business in our sector.
A key factor in ensuring success in implementing a new data sharing standard is how the industry measures success. It is vital that all air cargo stakeholders develop demonstrable KPIs, based on measurable business outcomes, that prioritize the business value of a more transparent data view. Digitization must be a business-led strategy, not an IT project. It is crucial that industry stakeholders demonstrate the intrinsic value uplift associated with embracing such powerful data sharing practices to the business. Only then will the industry be able to unlock its full potential.
Embrace the power
The path to expediting the industry’s digital cargo hinges on a willingness to embrace the power of data sharing standards. The reality is air cargo digitalization, underpinned by data sharing, will play a critical role in facilitating global trade by removing friction at every stage of the process. It is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss. By educating, sharing, and motivating each other in the quest to digitally transform our industry, we can propel it to the next frontier.
By Ashok Rajan, Head of Cargo & Logistics Solutions, IBS Software
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