Investment in technology is key

It’s fair to say that the air cargo isn’t noted for it’s rapid adoption of technology to make systems and processes more efficient and less costly. And according to Dheeraj Kohli, vice president and global head of travel and transportation for Unisys Corporation, the industry may soon start to pay the price, if it doesn’t get up to speed rapidly. Speaking to Air Cargo News, Mr Kohli wrote about how inefficiencies are now starting to hurt the bottom line.

Growing concerns

“Respondents to a 2015 air cargo survey stated that process inefficiencies are leading to a widespread inability to optimise revenues,” says Mr Kohli. “Three out of four air cargo executives said that this has contributed to revenue leakage and over half surveyed believe it has led to problems with pricing integrity and consistency.

“In an increasingly complex economic landscape and highly competitive global marketplace, the airfreight industry must reassess how it can use technology to create more innovative and adaptive business models. Not only that, it must abandon a previously conservative approach to IT investment.”

Slow to catch on

To make matters worse, many of the solutions that could streamline the air freight industry are already available – the issue is that many companies have been slow to adopt them. The picture isn’t all bad however – Mr Kohli points to IATA’s hard work on promoting the “e-freight” campaign as a positive first step.

“While current e-Air Waybill (e-AWB) penetration is on track to hit the 2016 year-end target of 56% set by IATA, it is only the first step towards a more technologically-integrated future for air cargo,” he says. “There are a multitude of other technological innovations that the industry has so far only briefly flirted with.”

Investment needed

These include everything from an automated system that classifies cargo as soon as shipment data is available through to an integrated cargo pricing system, but the industry needs to invest and approach the technology with an open mind.

Ignazio Coraci comments: “Technology offers boundless opportunities for us to streamline our business – but the will to adopt and invest in these innovations has to be there. As an industry we all need to work more closely together to find ways of integrating new technologies into our systems and processes.”

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