Scandinavia’s air freight sector has made rapid recent progress towards going paperless since its e-air waybill (eAWB) programme launch last August, hitting IATA’s global 22% target for 2014 within only five months.
Alexander Kohnen, Lufthansa Cargo’s director for Nordic and Baltic countries, reported to this year’s Nordic Air Cargo Symposium in Stockholm last week: “I am very proud that together with all of the carriers, freight forwarders, handlers and IATA, we made the target of 22% for the Nordics.”
Denmark achieved a 23% eAWB penetration rate in December and Finland 25%, with Sweden and Norway trailing at 15% and 7%, respectively. Kohnen said there would be a re-launch in Norway with workshops for freight forwarders “to get it rolling there”.
The Nordic eAWB Initiative was announced last January at the 2014 Nordic Air Cargo Symposium. Under the umbrella of IATA, several carriers agreed on the implementation of eAWB in the Nordics with a planned go-live date of 14 August 2014.
The introduction of the electronic master air waybill (eAWB) is the first step of an IATA initiative that aims to replace the existing paper documents required for the transport of air freight with electronic messaging. Kohnen said a similar launch would take place for the Baltic States, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, in April.
He said there was still a lot of work to be done, but he was confident that the region could achieve this year’s target of 45% eAWB penetration, with around three quarters of the air freight forwarders in the region having now signed the multilateral eAWB agreement. “If we look at who is ready, in Denmark, 96% of shipments are coming from freight forwarders that are able to do eAWB,” he said. “In Finland, it is 97%; in Sweden it is 93%; and in Norway, it is 70%. This certainly, therefore, gives us the potential for growth.
“So, there is very little to be done on the structural side; it is just for the freight forwarders to send shipments with the correct code, in the correct version – preferably version 16 Cargo-IMP – and with the right information on the security side.”
He said Lufthansa Cargo had exceeded the target of 22% penetration in Denmark, Finland, and Sweden, achieving penetration levels of 22.4% in Denmark, 35.1% in Finland, and 27.9% in Sweden, although only 4.7% in Norway, where he said the “low degree of readiness of the local air freight industry requires additional efforts in 2015”.
He said the launch of eAWB in the Baltics would ensure that the successful implementation of the eAWB initiative continues throughout the region. “The aim for Lufthansa Cargo in the Nordics and Baltics is to not just meet the IATA target of 45%, but to exceed it. We are confident that this can be achieved with the continued help of all the freight forwarders and other involved parties, who have already provided a great deal of support, and which has played a vital role in the success realised so far.”