Multiple airlines have recently switched to electronic air waybill (e-AWB) as the preferred method of air cargo shipments for all destinations. This is a significant milestone in the industry that still depends heavily on paper documentation for the transport of goods by air. With airlines, technology providers and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) leading the way towards full e-AWB implementation, the level of urgency has significantly increased for the rest of the industry.
What is the e-AWB?
The e-AWB is the electronic version of the paper air waybill (AWB), a critical air cargo document that serves as the contract of carriage between the shipper or freight forwarder and the airlines or carrier. The IATA describes "e-AWB" as the exchange of electronic data messages between parties to conclude the contract of carriage. Because the AWB is such an important document, the digitization will significantly streamline the process. The e-AWB is also the first step towards an entirely paperless air cargo.
Benefits of Electronic AWB for Carriers
Airlines must obtain air waybill data from forwarders, keep up to date with technology and electronic standards, and maintain a high level of customer service. Under the e-AWB Single Process, it is the carrier or airline that determines whether a paper AWB is necessary and prints the document from the e-AWB.
e-AWB allows carriers to:
• Streamline the processing of high-volume airfreight shipments
• Meet electronic compliance requirements
• Quickly collect data from freight forwarders and ground handling agents
• Reduce costs associated with paper AWB, including space, equipment, retrieval, storage and transportation costs
Benefits of e-Air Waybill for Freight Forwarders
The Single Process approach helps eliminate complexity for freight forwarders. Forwarders that are already onboard have experienced the following advantages:
· Improved accuracy of AWB data, as data is provided directly by forwarders and cargo agents. The data accuracy eliminates redundant entries and errors due to illegible paper documents.
· Reduction of costs associated with paper AWB, including space, equipment, retrieval, storage and transportation costs.
· Reduction of cycle time by up to 24 hours and reduced handling delays due to missing or illegible paper documents. Because forwarders receive status notifications in real time, they can move cargo as scheduled.
· Real-time access to AWB information. All parties can access e-AWB data anytime and amend information up until the cargo reaches the station.
What are the e-AWB Implementation Steps?
Before exchanging e-air waybill messages, the airline, and the freight forwarder must sign the multilateral agreement with IATA. Possible liability risks associated with the new process should be discussed with the company’s legal department. All parties must have e-AWB capable systems and a standard operating procedure (SOP) for Single Process. Ensure that ground handling agents and employees understand the SOP and the Single Process.
Airlines need to determine whether paper or electronic AWB is required for each trade lane. Consider the regulatory environment and network constraints in the decision-making process. Airlines must also set up printers at locations (origin, destination, and hub) where printing is required. As for technology, electronic data interchange (EDI) or a web portal is needed to exchange e-AWB messages. Airlines and large forwarders may opt for EDI, while smaller firms may choose an online e-AWB solution provided by third parties.
IATA’s global e-AWB penetration target is 56 percent for 2016. To accelerate adoption in the community and support stakeholders transitioning to the electronic system, the IATA, and partner agencies have launched the eAWB360 initiative. eAWB360 is a call-to-action campaign at selected airports by participating airlines aimed to achieve 100 percent e-AWB adoption.
eAWB360 is already in its second phase in North America following the first stage in Europe. In the United States, participating airports include New York (JFK), Dallas (DFW), Atlanta (ATL), Miami (MIA), Chicago (ORD), and Los Angeles (LAX). The eAWB360 campaign at these airports consists of engagement activities aimed to prepare stakeholders, mainly freight forwarders, for e-AWB.
eAWB360 Launch Session at Los Angeles (LAX)
e-AWB will go live at LAX airport on August 1, 2016, and the eAWB360 Launch Session will be held on September 15, 2016. As of April 2016, LAX airport has a 32.1 percent e-AWB penetration, the fourth highest among the six e-airports (ATL, DFW, JFK, MIA, and ORD) in the United States. LAX is also ranked no. 12 among 50 priority e-airports by e-AWB volume over the past 12 months.
15 of the participating airlines that operate at Los Angeles Airport are:
Airports play a significant role in the community’s mission to reach 100 percent e-AWB adoption as quickly as possible. Like Hong Kong airport, which is leading the world in e-AWB implementation, LAX can encourage stakeholders and foster success by streamlining e-AWB processes. With the help of agents, forwarders and technology providers, major airlines like Cathay Pacific and Delta Airlines are also contributing to speed up e-AWB adoption at LAX. These carriers have relatively high e-AWB penetration, and they encourage the community to switch to electronic processing through various means.
There is still more to be done, as the eAWB360 launch session is one solution to ease the community’s transition to a paperless future. During the half-day session at LAX, participants can expect representatives from the industry to discuss how e-AWB is administered, its preparation and to ensure system readiness, along with other important issues. For those who are new to e-AWB, the launch session is a great opportunity to connect with technology solutions providers and industry experts.
Event: eAWB360 Launch Session Los Angeles (LAX)
Date: Sept. 15, 2016
Venue: Sheraton Gateway Hotel 6101 W Century Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90045
Participants: Representatives from CNS, Technology Partners, Airlines, Cargo Agents, Freight Forwarders
Sponsors and collaborators: CNS, CIFFA, Airforwarders Association, Airlines for America, IT Solutions Providers
For more details about the eAWB360 launch session and the registration process, please visit the CNS page.
CrimsonLogic GeTS e-AWB Solution
The industry depends on technology partners and e-AWB solutions providers to prepare for e-AWB and speeds up e-AWB implementation. CrimsonLogic's Global eTrade Services (GeTS) has been supporting airlines, freight forwarders, cargo agents and other stakeholders in the fast implementation of e-AWB at airports in America and Canada.
CrimsonLogic GeTS include a best-in-class e-AWB service that makes electronic data exchange quick and easy, particularly for freight forwarders. Forwarders can immediately connect to over 90 airlines using a web portal. CrimsonLogic GeTS’ advanced e-AWB solution allows you to access data anytime, use templates to facilitate date entry, archive e-AWB data, generate reports and receive automatic status notifications. The e-AWB service also comes with 24/7 customer support.
Getting ready for e-AWB has never been easier. Just register with CrimsonLogic GeTS, sign the multilateral agreement with IATA once, check if your stations are willing to accept e-AWB messages, and go live.