By Gboyega Oni
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has resolved to accelerate the modernization and transformation of the air cargo industry building on the momentum created by the Trade Facilitation Agreement – TFA- of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO’s) coming into force.
Air cargo industry was charged to take a customer-centric approach to transformation to meet the evolving needs of shippers.
The development was contained in the resolution of the just concluded 73rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of IATA in Cancun, Mexico.
Speaking at the meeting, the Director General/CEO of IATA Alexandre de Juniac said TFA commits governments to making trade faster, cheaper and more efficient, saying that air cargo is ready to benefit from the expected $1 trillion boost in trade growth arising from the TFA.
According to Juniac, “The TFA commits governments to making trade faster, cheaper and more efficient. Air cargo processes are stuck in another century. To ensure that air cargo is ready to benefit from the expected $1 trillion boost in trade growth arising from the TFA and the improving global economic environment, we need a major overhaul of industry processes. And there is no time to lose; our customers already expect the efficiency of electronic documentation.”
In the IATA resolution, the air cargo industry was charged to take a customer-centric approach to transformation to meet the evolving needs of shippers and urges the industry to:
Conclude the digitization of the supply chain to allow all information to be shared instantly, improving efficiency and simplifying the transport process
Adopt modern and harmonized standards that facilitate safe, secure and efficient operations, particularly in relation to carriage of dangerous goods
Use enhanced technology to provide customers with responsive services based on intelligent systems able to self-monitor, send real-time alerts and respond to deviation
Harness the power of data to drive efficient and effective industry quality improvements
Recognizing that partnerships are critical in driving industry transformation especially for a business where global standards are so vital, the resolution also calls on governments to support the industry’s modernization process by:
Rapidly implementing the TFA so that its substantial benefits such as harmonized rules for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods crossing borders and the acceptance of e-payments and electronic documentation can be realized
Developing smart regulations that not only improve the safety and security of the air cargo supply chain, but also facilitates the efficient transport of goods
The resolution reinforces the role of IATA to facilitate and support the modernization and transformation process through its industry transformation program, Simplifying the Business (StB) Cargo. The StB Cargo program is taking the lead in bringing several initiatives for data-led innovation forward. The program also includes a Smart Facilities initiative designed to enhance ground handling service quality.
“The time is right for change. After several years of virtually no growth, air cargo demand is starting to pick up. We are also seeing new business opportunities with internet commerce and the global distribution of time and temperature sensitive cargo, especially pharmaceutical products,” said de Juniac.