Australian air freight goes paperless

Schenker's air freight.

Schenker Australia has despatched its first paper-free airfreight shipment to Hong Kong.

Australia has become the sixth country to deliver paper-free air cargo this year with the roll-out of the International Air Transport Association (IATA)’s e-freight initiative, designed to eliminate the need to ship up to 38 paper documents with air freight. 

The IATA announced the Australia e-freight went live on three routes; Australia-Singapore, Australia-New Zealand and Australia –Netherlands.

Schenker Australia despatched its first paper-free airfreight shipment to Hong Kong, following successful trial shipments on the Sydney-Singapore and Sydney-Hong Kong lanes working with Singapore Airlines and Qantas.

Schenker Australia CEO Ron Koehler said e-freight marked the beginning of a new era in air freight.

“This new very efficient program not only improves the data quality and saves costs, it also cuts down on paper.

“In the past, we have seen delays in shipments arriving at the airport with missing documentation. E-freight is intended to help us minimise these cases,” Mr Koehler said.

Singapore Airlines Cargo general manager Australia and New Zealand Geok Suan Ong, said: “E-freight will replace bulky paper documentation that typically accompanies freight with electronic information and this is in line with our corporate mission to keep our operations environmentally friendly.”

The IATA launched e-freight pilots in 2004, in a move to modernise and simplify the airfreight industry. An assessment of the readiness of 209 locations worldwide found 46 countries, representing around 60 per cent of global air freight volumes, had the appropriate international treaties and high-level customs frameworks to qualify for the e-freight program.

The e-freight implementation in Australia is supported by industry and government participants including Qantas, Schenker, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, British Airways, DHL Global Forwarding, Fracht Australia, Australian Customs and the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service.

The program is already operational in Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, the UK and the US. 

The complete roll-out is aimed for 2010 where possible and scanned e-documents will be supported as interim solution until international digital standards are available at all locations.


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