E-Freight or E-Fright?

There is an odd disjuncture occurring in the air freight industry. In recent weeks Payload Asia has been deluged by press release after press release extolling the virtues of the ongoing e-freight initiative. The press releases all drivel on in seemingly copy-cat formulation about how much paper, time, effort, efficiency – and ultimately money – […]


There is an odd disjuncture occurring in the air freight industry. In recent weeks Payload Asia has been deluged by press release after press release extolling the virtues of the ongoing e-freight initiative.

The press releases all drivel on in seemingly copy-cat formulation about how much paper, time, effort, efficiency – and ultimately money – is wasted on filling in documents relating to air cargo. Think how much better the environment will be without the 39 B747 freighters-worth of documents. And look at the passenger side, e-ticketing has become the norm without the travelling public even blinking. Certainly hard to argue, but then again, there’s always more to the story.

Where the disconnect comes into play is with the ‘other half’ of the air cargo equation – the forwarders and shippers. To be polite about this, they are adamantly unenthused with the plan. Actually to be fair, most whole-heartedly agree with the concept, they just don’t fancy IATA’s imperious implementation of it. This was abundantly evident during the recent meeting of the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA).

The way they see it, IATA’s e-freight implementation is being shoved down their throats with little heed to what the implications are for the forwarders and their clients. One of the harshest critics of the plan is FIATA president Bill Gottlieb.