Get set for smart air cargo handling

Even as the Indian economy is surging ahead, there is a compelling demand for companies—irrespective of the sector they operate in—to create and maintain an efficient supply chain possible. In order to compete and succeed in today’s demanding marketplace, manufacturing com panies in particular are hard-pressed to consider a wide range of alternatives, including site locations, product mix, transportation, inventory deployment, suppliers, cost service levels, constraints, as well as supply chain operations.

Besides, at every stage of the supply chain, they are looking for ways to control costs, improve service and accelerate return on investment. Unfortunately, air cargo shipment, so far done manually, has been a major let down.

Not any more. Thanks to e-freight, a new concept for cargo transportation via the skies. Backed by IT solutions covering the entire gamut of air cargo operations, from booking of cargo to delivery, it eliminates the need to transport paper documents for air cargo shipments by moving to an industry-wide, simpler, electronic and paper-free environment. And, promoting this innovative concept is The International Air Transport Association. After successfully motivating airlines across the world to switch from paper ticketing to e-tickets, IATA is confident that the new concept will take off, though it will take another 10 years (or perhaps even more) before e-freight is used across the world. An initial e-freight project was launched in 2004.

Closer home, while the passenger transportation sector is already bustling with activity, the interest of various aviation players—passenger as well as air cargo operators—is shifting to the largely untapped air cargo sector. The excitement is understandable: Civil aviation minister Praful Patel has indicated that the government is looking at progressively liberalising the air cargo sector, with plans to allow 74% foreign direct investment.

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