Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Supply chains actually need more than 48 hours improvement. With the collaboration of other stakeholders, more time can be compressed. 

We must cut 48 hours off transit times, or air cargo cannot survive – IATA chief

By Alex Lennane in Seoul

10.08.2014 · Posted in Air, Loadstar posts FavoriteLoadingAdd to favoritesACF top

In a call to arms for the air cargo industry, Glyn Hughes, new global head of cargo at IATA, said cutting 48 hours off transit times was a question of “survival”.

There is “no alternative”, he told a press conference at TIACA’s Air Cargo Forum in Seoul.

“All of the industry owns this situation and problem,” he said, “it’s about the survival of the industry going forward. Without it, modal shift will accelerate. We have no alternative. This industry has survived for 103 years, and we want to secure the next 103 years.”

Pictured at the press conference are, from left: TIACA's Doug Britten, Jim Edgar and Oliver Evans, with Glyn Hughes of IATA

Michael Steen, former chair of TIACA, speaking on the sidelines of the event, agreed: "The six-day process has got to change.

"Comparing general cargo to express is not the aim – but airlines and forwarders have to make sure that they add more value in the future. There's a need to cut away everything that doesn't add value, whether in the handling process, or using more automation. We have to do that better."

The 48-hour pledge, made by Mr Hughes' predecessor, Des Vertannes, in March, has been much debated – in particular why it was a target set by airlines, which are unable to speed up their part of the process.

And during various panel debates at the Air Cargo Forum, shippers have indicated that reliability was more important than speed.

Oliver Evans, chairman of TIACA, explained: "The ownership of this idea is an industry one. And when you have a big goal thrown out there, you start to investigate and you find out some important facts.

"When SwissWorldCargo investigated it, we found a remarkable time lapse between the cargo arriving at the airport and the forwarder coming to pick it up."

TIACA has focused on collaboration as the theme of its event.

"The pace of change is accelerating all the time and will have an effect on the air cargo industry," said Mr Evans. "Collaboration, co-operation and integration are the key words that will allows us to take air cargo forward. Others have tried to commoditise their own products. We think this isn't right, that there 's a better way for the industry, which we are endeavouring to do through collaboration. We need to prepare the entire community to cope with the changes."

TIACA scored something of a coup with the presence of John Pistole of of the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA). After assuring delegates that TSA security measures were still important by showing a video revealing the potentially devastating impact of just a small bomb, he also argued that the combination of screening and a risk assessment was working. In the pilot period, 171 million shipments were processed and none needed to be offloaded.

He said: "With more advance cargo information, we can do a better job in assessing the risk and facilitating the movement of goods."

John Pistole, of the US Transportation Security Administration

Mr Evans added: "The screening process and risk-based analysis is effective, and TIACA will be continuing those efforts in collaboration wth IATA."

But TIACA has an eye on data sharing too, he said.

"In terms of advance data regimes, we need to work together with industry to ensure it isn't burdened with huge cost. The more we invest in that dialogue, the more efficient our processes will be."

Mr Evans said the business of air cargo was effectively one of data collection, and when stakeholders could work together it would add efficiencies for the industry as a whole.

"We have been grabbing the same rope and pulling it in different directions. We need stakeholders to learn from each other."

Along with some more developments at TIACA, which The Loadstar will report later this week, it was also announced that the association would hand the chair of Gacag to IATA.

"This is not a symbolic change," said Mr Evans. "It is a strong underlining [of the fact that] that platform is neutral. Who is chairing is not the issue.

"We have a common interest in creating a safe, secure and superior service, with outstanding performance."