IAG Cargo, the freight arm of UK-headquartered International Airlines Group, has carried out a survey of more than 400 freight forwarders in 47 countries, which reveals that more than half (55%) of respondents see increased automation and digitalisation as “key trends” this year.
The report, Cargo Next, indicates that 70% of those surveyed are expecting the rate of technological change to increase in the year ahead, while 81% of forwarders believe technological innovation will have a positive impact on their business.
With automation and digitalisation topping the list, the growth of e-commerce came in second and trade tensions third in the ranking of most important trends for the near future.
As is often discussed at industry events, forwarders perceive their biggest problem to be the attraction and retention of talent; 79% of the survey participants identified talent as either a very significant or significant challenge.
Enikö Matanov, director of strategy and revenue optimisation at IAG Cargo, said: “We are hugely encouraged by the global appetite of freight forwarders to implement real change in the fields of digitalisation and automation.
“The scope for digitalisation and automation to transform the cargo industry is huge. We are dedicated to bringing advancements from within and outside the air cargo industry to continually improve and deliver the best service for our customers.”
IAG Cargo’s own efforts in this area include working with start-ups from the Hangar 51 accelerator programme, trialling new technologies and investing in innovation to improve processes.
Matanov added: “We have further developed our APIs [application programming interfaces], enabling real-time information on rates, available capacities, and routing options via e-booking platforms, customer booking systems, and IAGCargo.com, providing a one-stop shop for freight forwarders.”