Connecting Airlines with India’s Cargo Community Stakeholdersby Amar More on 2012-06-22 02:30:15
World trade is the key catalyst for air freight. As per ACI’s 2010 World Airport Traffic Report, Air cargo globally recorded a15.3 per cent increase. All regions recorded growth in excess of 10 per cent led by Asia-Pacific, Europe and Latin America-Caribbean.
India too is in the midst of an unprecedented boom with the GDP growing at more than 9%. Both industrial and consumer goods are witnessing increased demands and this growth is leading to a boom in logistic sector. However, there are a couple of glaring concerns that need to be addressed like-
• Is the Industry ready to sustain this Growth?
• Are we ready to raise our standards to the Global Best?
• Do we have the required Infrastructure that will reduce Logistics cost & provide value to the trade?
• Are we ready to deliver World Class services?
Current Indian Scenario
According to industry analysts India spends US$30 billion more than it should on logistics due to inefficiencies in the system and by the dominance of a disorganized market. Need of hour is to build the best Freight & Logistics value chain to cater to changing customer needs. In this chain of cargo transfer, Airlines play a crucial role. Airlines systems need to be highly flexible to accommodate Industry regulations and changes. They need to meet international best practices to communicate electronically with freight forwarders and each other to track and trace cargo shipment as per customer expectations.
Airlines Wish List
Airlines require a system which can be flexible to handle ever-changing business requirements and yet offer features to stay competitive with marketplace demands. Airlines are looking forward to induce more efficiency in operations like- Enquiry, Booking, AWB, status updates, billing, accounting etc. They need to get more bookings online and receive operational data through web channels interfacing with the internal system. Airlines wish to increase accessibility and visibility to market, acquire new customers and get into extended contracts with the existing clientele. Airlines also require a system that can help them use the archived data to analyze the performance of the sales team and for future forecasting to set targets. This will assist them to plan their venture in new markets and define new services & products to cater to the expectations & changing needs. So also airlines can set standard processes and policies which are easy to implement.
However, here is the catch-Airlines are heavily influenced by national, international, and industrial governing bodies. There are many factors affecting Air Cargo Industry- infrastructural constraints, poor regional connectivity, undefined safety & global standards, lack of skilled workforce, redundant processes & heavy paper work to name a few. The impact on cargo shipment transfer is higher lead time, plenty of paper work and loss due to wastages.
Airlines Situation in India
At present many Airlines in India do not get the shipment data electronically from the forwarder, since most of the forwarders do not have the capability for creating and transmitting the shipment data electronically. The airlines require the shipment data including booking, waybills, house information to flow directly into Airlines systems (which are global and in other geographies receive such data electronically). Today Airlines have to spend a lot of cash for this documentation and then managing the paper also becomes another cumbersome task. The Airlines also do not get shipment visibility before the shipment reaches airport which makes operational planning difficult for them.
The Solution: Cargo Community Platform
What is required is a collaborative effort to streamline the flow of goods & information across the supply chain. The stakeholders in the Indian supply chain have realized the need to connect and collaborate to ride the growth wave on a global scale. To support this need, ACAAI - the apex trade association of IATA recognized Indian air cargo agents and Kale Logistics Solutions Pvt. Ltd. (KLSPL) have successfully created an effective cargo community platform giving attention to several usability challenges facing both the airlines and end-users. This is India’s first electronic collaboration platform for the Indian Logistics industry called UPLIFT.
UPLIFT is a readily available portal which is easy-to-use and it does not interfere with Airlines primary responsibilities of physically handling the freight. It is a ready to deploy solution that can handle high volume transactions in a 24/7 environment, and offers minimal training costs.
The Airlines experience significant time & efforts saving due to electronic filing of AWBs coming from UPLIFT directly to their system, which they otherwise have to capture manually. This also avoids errors in data entry. Even the Indian forwarders moving from manual operations to online filing through UPLIFT can look forward to at least 2/3 savings from its current costs per shipment which can be around 8-10 Euros for filing a single shipment as per EU regulations.
To leverage on current industry growth, all Indian cargo community stakeholders need to streamline the flow of cargo information in order to meet rising global customer expectations.