CrimsonLogic is pleased to share the Electronic Air Waybill (e-AWB) standard operating procedures (SOP) for Canada airports as published by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The procedure for issuing eAWB during the export process at Vancouver (YVR), Montreal (YUL) and Toronto (YVZ) airport is as follows:
1. The shipper sends shipping instructions and any required commercial documents (electronically or paper form) to the freight forwarder.
2. The freight forwarder makes an electronic booking (e-booking) and specifies that it is an electronic air waybill (e-AWB). The cargo agent inputs the appropriate e-freight code:
EAW: Agent does not attach any commercial pouch.
EAP: Agent attaches a commercial pouch.
3. The airline or ground handling agent (GHA) sends booking confirmation to the freight forwarder, updates the system with the reservation details, shares information with the warehouse, and checks the correct special handling code (SPH) code:
ECC: E-Shipment, electronic AWB.
ECP: E-Shipment, paper AWB.
4. The freight forwarder sends proof of export reporting electronically to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). The proof of export reporting includes a copy of an AWB facsimile or a copy of the forwarder’s house manifest containing the proof of export reporting numbers.
If a commercial pouch is required:
The freight forwarder issues the waybill message (FWB) Special Handling Code EAW using its own system, a community portal or the airline’s portal. The forwarder inputs “EAW” to alert the airline that no commercial pouch is attached.
If a commercial pouch is not required:
The freight forwarder issues the waybill message (FWB) Special Handling Code EAP using its own system, a community portal or the airline’s portal. The forwarder inputs “EAP” to alert the airline that a commercial pouch is attached.
5. The airline adds Special Handling Code ECC for consignments without a paper master air waybill (MAWB) or ECP for consignments with a paper copy of the master air waybill as required by local regulations.
6. The airline’s system or IT solutions provider then performs a data check on the FWB. If the FWB is not in the correct IMP/XML format, the airline issues an FSU-EDI message to notify the freight forwarder that there is an issue with the message. If the FWB is in the correct format or the freight forwarder has already amended the message, the airline issues an FSU-FMA that confirms the correction. For regulated agents (freight forwarder), the airline issues a consignment security declaration (CSD). If the agent is non-regulated, the freight forwarder tenders shipment to the carrier.
7. After issuing the CSD and securing the shipment during the administrative check-in, the airline checks the physical weight and dimensions of the consignment. If a shipment needs to be secured, it will undergo a security check and be issued a CSD. The airline then proceeds with the weight and dimensions check.
8. If there is a discrepancy with the shipment against the FWB, the airline updates the system. The airline issues an FOH message if the freight forwarder needs to amend the FWB. After making corrections, the freight forwarder sends back the FWB to the airline. After updating the system or amending the booking, the airline issues a paper or electronic CCA in the presence of the freight forwarder’s representative.
9. The shipment goes through Single Process if the carrier has implemented the system. For ECC shipments, the airline issues an FSU-RCS message, which means that the shipment is accepted. For ECP shipments, the airline prints a paper MAWB and issues an FSU-RCS. The carrier can also issue a paper or electronic cargo receipt to the freight forwarder.
10. The airline issues the loading list, builds containers and pallets, prepares the flight document pouch, and delivers shipments to ramp handling. Once all shipments have left the airport on board the booked flight, the carrier issues the FSU-DEP.
11. Finally, the airline sends paper proof of export reporting to Canada Customs (CBSA). This includes a copy of an AWB facsimile or a copy of the forwarders house manifest containing the proof of export reporting numbers.
Minimum Requirements to Issue an Electronic AWB
E-AWB and e-freight will soon become the standard for air shipments. Airlines, agents and trade partners that have not yet modified their processes to transmit eAWB and e-freight are strongly advised to do so to avoid business disruptions. To ensure the success of e-AWB transmission, the IATA recommends that companies keep employees, management, IT departments, warehouse, operations, sales teams and business partners informed about the new processes, message flows and changes that need to be implemented.
Basic requirements for Airlines or Airline Representatives
1. The parties must sign a multilateral or bilateral e-AWB agreement before issuing any e-AWB, including e-AWB tests. The Multilateral e-AWB Agreement (MeA) is a single agreement that airlines and freight forwarders can sign once with IATA. The Bilateral Agreement is an agreement with each freight forwarder or direct shipper. The airline must send an Activation Notice to the freight forwarder before doing e-AWB.
2. Ability to send and receive electronic messages. The airline must be able to communicate with cargo agents, ground handling agents, customs officials and authorities. The messaging industry standard format is IATA Cargo-XML. Cargo-IMP FWB format is still accepted, but airlines are encouraged to move to Cargo-XML as soon as possible.
3. Implement the Single Process. The Single Process allows the carrier to transmit e-AWB even in countries where paper forms are still legally required. Regardless of the destination, the cargo agent only has one standard process with the carrier, making operations easier.
4. Keep the IATA Matchmaker up-to-date. The IATA Matchmaker is a web-based application that contains valuable information for the whole industry, such as stations where an airline operates the Single Process and stations where an airline can accept the e-AWB. The carrier must ensure that the information is correct.
Basic Requirements for Cargo Agents
1. Sign the Multilateral e-AWB Agreement. Cargo Agents can use the IATA Matchmaker tool to check whether their partner airline has signed the MeA at a given airport.
2. Ability to transmit electronic messages. This can be done through:
Airline’s website. Ideal for test shipments or small companies, this option is basic and does not offer connection with in-house computer systems. Contact the airline’s customer service department to request access to the portal.
Ready-to-use solutions. These applications allow the cargo agent to create templates, save records, convert records into different formats, generate e-freight shipments and transmit e-AWBs. Some service providers offer cloud-based solutions.
Home-built solution. Home-built solutions require the in-house development or upgrade of existing systems. The IATA recommends using messaging industry standards such as the Cargo-XML for the most accurate results. The Cargo-IMP FWB standard is still accepted, but development has been discontinued since December 2014. Cargo agents are encouraged to move to Cargo-XML as soon as possible. The Cargo-XML implementation toolkit can be purchased through an IATA representative.
3. Perform tests. Agents should contact the airline of their choice to test the quality of communication. Transmission of FWB or XFWB messages must be fast and consistent, and information must be accurate. After the airline sends the message (acknowledgement, correction or status update), the agent checks whether the message arrived on time and is complete (message quality is 95 percent or more). Cargo agents can proceed with pilot shipments after testing the data exchange.
CrimsonLogic e-AWB Solutions
The IATA’s e-AWB program aims to streamline the processing of the most important air cargo document, the air waybill. The e-AWB initiative eliminates the need for time-consuming paper-based AWB reporting between airlines and cargo agents. CrimsonLogic offers best-in-class e-AWB solutions that allow cargo agents to connect immediately to over 90 airlines, receive automatic status notifications, generate reports, access all records anytime, and more. Simply register with CrimsonLogic, sign the IATA Multilateral eAWB Agreement, check if stations are approved to accept eAWB transmission, and go live!