Air Cargo Newsdesk

FOUR unwanted 2019 predictions for the air transport business

FOUR unwanted 2019 predictions for the air transport business

NEW technologies will both benefit and hinder the smooth running of the air transport sector in 2019, predicts’s Thelma Etim.

The focus on cybersecurity will greatly intensify as the growth in the number of malware attacks on businesses across the globe soars. Cybercrime will cost the world US$6 trillion annually by 2021, reveals specialist cyber economy researcher and publishing company Cybersecurity Ventures;

This situation will, in turn, lead to an exponential growth in the numbers of cybersecurity experts/specialists/and, of course, charlatans;

FOUR unwanted 2019 predictions for the air transport business

Glyn Hughes, global head of cargo at IATA

Cybercrime will force some airlines to change tack from trying to tackle the ongoing security problem alone themselves and, instead, will share their tactics and solutions with other carriers. The majority of these airlines are members of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). “As an organisation, as IATA, the airlines have asked us to focus on protecting the areas of information which we share commonly,” reveals Glyn Hughes (above, right), global head of cargo at IATA.

He gives the examples of CASS – Cargo Account Settlements System – an established process which simplifies the billing and settling of accounts between airlines and freight forwarders, and BSP [Billing and Settlement] programmes, which are very much about the billing/payments process. “And there is a lot of data in there,” he admits. “We have been asked to make sure that we focus our cybersecurity activity on protecting the areas of data that we secure. Now, having said that, in the cargo world we are also building cybersecurity concerns into this advanced programme of digitalisation.”

In 2019, the air cargo industry will continue to struggle with digitisation and there are a number of reasons why:

The sector closely mirrors international trade, operating complex processes which, often for purely local, legal reasons, generate mountains of paper.

The airwaybill (AWB) is a critical air cargo document that constitutes the contract of carriage between the ‘shipper’ and the ‘carrier’. A single air transport shipment can generate as many as 30 associated documents.

To remove the requirement for a paper version, in 2010, IATA introduced the electronic airwaybill (e-AWB), which is the cornerstone of the association’s ‘e-Freight’ initiative aimed at creating an end-to-end paperless transportation process for air cargo, ‘utilising electronic messages and high-quality data’. But the association has so far spectacularly missed all of its annual e-AWB penetration targets;

IATA recently announced that the e-AWB will become the default contract of carriage for all airfreight shipments on some trade lanes only from 1 January 2019, but air cargo involves an immense number of supply chain actors which are involved in shipping cargo across the world, including airlines, ground-handling firms, freight forwarders, airports, trucking firms, second-, third- and fourth-party logistics businesses, Customs authorities, insurers and hazmat specialists. Many of these players cannot yet see the value proposition in digitising their processes;

Some legacy air transport businesses remain uneasy about the transparency that new technologies, such as blockchain, may bring to their operations;

Above all, corruption cannot easily flourish in a paperless environment, such as at a Customs agency. For many organisations involved in air transport logistics, it is bribery – not electronic communications – which is the glue that keeps everything moving.

FOUR unwanted 2019 predictions for the air transport business

Courtesy of IATA

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