Not all air shippers on on same page with e-commerce, study shows

Freight forwarders need to see “realizable and significant value” added to the airport-to-airport portion of the air cargo supply chain before making a commitment to e-commerce, said two major shipper associations.

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Freight forwarders need to see “realizable and significant value” added to the airport-to-airport portion of the air cargo supply chain before making a commitment to e-commerce, said two major shipper associations.

The global survey of some 450 freight forwarders was conducted jointly by the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA), and The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA).

Freight forwarders from 84 countries responded to FIATA and TIACA’s poll to ascertain their views on e-commerce with the largest number of participants from Australia, Canada, Egypt, India, Netherlands, Pakistan, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam and Zimbabwe. 

According to the survey, some 55 percent of respondents stated they were aware of the e-freight program championed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), yet less than 20 percent said they were participating in the initiative.

“The initial findings clearly show a positive shift in forwarders’ attitudes to e-commerce with forwarders willing to invest only if airlines do likewise,” said Bill Gottlieb, immediate past president of FIATA, who helped lead the research. “They see themselves evolving and becoming more recognized as the carrier’s customer in the air cargo supply chain and pursuing modernization of the documentary process to entice them towards technology led industry initiatives.”

At the same time, the National Industrial Transportation League (NITL) was not among those groups objecting to e-freight.

“Quite frankly, we are caught by surprise on this objection,” said NITL air freight committee chair, Richard Macomber. “We’ll have to speak with our members on this to find out if similar opinions are shared by our members.”

For more articles on air cargo, click here.

About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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