IATA Advocates Strong Partnerships Across Air Cargo Value Chain
By Anuja Abraham
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) advocated strong partnerships across the air cargo value chain to address an industry agenda to enhance safety, security, sustainability and competitiveness.
“Air cargo is critical to the global economy. By value, over 35 percent of goods traded internationally are handled by air. But this accounts for just 0.5 percent of global volumes traded. Air cargo provides the connectivity that is at the core of modern businesses serving global markets. The growth potential is enormous. The challenge is to propel that growth sustainably, with quality products, efficiently delivered by a well-coordinated value chain,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO in a keynote address to the World Cargo Symposium which is meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The 2011 hull loss rate for western-built jet aircraft stood at the historic low of 0.37 hull losses per million flights (one hull loss for every 2.7 million flights). However, managing shipments of dangerous goods is an increasingly complex challenge for air cargo as the number of shippers proliferates, particularly with the growth of e-commerce opportunities for individual entrepreneurs, who lack awareness of dangerous goods regulations. “The concern over shipping lithium batteries is a good example of where the supply chain needs to cooperate to raise awareness levels,” said Tyler.
Tyler urged the industry to work together and in cooperation with governments on industry solutions for cargo security, or risk the imposition of regulatory solutions that may not fully understand the operational realities of global air cargo. “The challenge is two-fold. We must continuously improve security to meet evolving threats. And we need to achieve this while maintaining the speed necessary to support global commerce,” said Tyler. He highlighted three areas for a particular focus:
Tyler encouraged regulators to harmonize risk-assessment measures in compliance through the World Customs Organization SAFE standards. At the same time he urged the air cargo value chain to redouble its efforts to improve the quality of data provided by making the Message Improvement Program a priority for 2012. “Ensuring quality data will gain the confidence of regulators and customs authorities that is necessary to motivate them towards efficient paper-free processes,” said Tyler.
Tyler noted progress with regulators on addressing the constraints on current technology in screening air cargo. “It is clear that a robust risk-assessment needs both physical and data screening programs that are harmonized. The worst thing for both industry and states would be to have these programs competing with each other across airline networks,” said Tyler.
“Alongside a license to grow based on safety, security and environmental responsibility, to be successful the air cargo value chain must meet customer expectations with efficient and quality products and processes,” said Tyler, highlighting e-freight and the industry’s need to adopt Cargo 2000 as a global standard.
E-freight penetration stood at 11 percent at the end of 2011, ahead of the 10 percent target set by the IATA Board of Governors. Current e-AWB penetration is 4.6 percent. IATA is targeting 15 percent e-AWB penetration by the end of 2012 and 100 percent by 2014.