08 Dec e-AWB adoption in the UK
Although its e-Freight initiative – and e-AWB adoption in particular – has been much slower than IATA would have liked, penetration has nonetheless been growing year-on-year. However, this appears to be moving up a gear in the UK with IATA’s recent press announcement that 15 airlines “are switching over to e-AWB as the preferred means of shipping cargo to all destinations by using the e-AWB Single Process at LHR airport, effective 1st March 2016.”
As the UK’s national carrier, IAG has been in the vanguard and for some considerable time now has been capable of processing both classic Cargo 2000 and new e-AWB FWB messages for all UK airports, not just LHR. However, this latest move from these additional airlines signals a clear shift towards more widespread e-AWB adoption across the UK. It’s clear that this will have implications for all UK Air Freight forwarders. The underlying message is that airlines will increasingly give priority to e-AWB shipments and the time will eventually come where shipments will be refused if there is no e-AWB process in place.
Says Ken Stewart, Marketing Director at Forward Computers: “Back in 1998, Forward Computers was the UK’s first freight software supplier to provide an off-the-shelf solution for the Air Freight industry’s Cargo 2000 initiative. IATA’s more recent drive towards e-Freight has long been on Forward Computers’ radar and during the course of 2013 it developed its new “IATA e-Freight” offering. Although the latter can run alongside its classic Cargo 2000 ‘Airline EDI’ solution, it is a completely separate option that conforms to all of the new standards and requirements for both e-AWB and, for regulated agents, the e-CSD. There is no need for any panic regarding 1st March 2016, IATA’s announcement is merely stating that e-AWB becomes those airlines’ preferred means of shipping cargo. Nonetheless, it’s clear that finally e-AWB adoption is now firmly on the agenda in the UK and it’s only a matter of time before this becomes an essential industry requirement.”
Requirements for implementation and use of the software itself are relatively straightforward, although any company wishing to participate in the e-AWB process must first sign up to IATA’s “Multilateral e-AWB Agreement“. Forward Computers strongly recommends that Air Freight agents review all of the information that has been published about the e-Freight initiative, all of which can be found on IATA’s website.