Air industry embraces digital, road must follow: IRU

The International Road Transport Union (IRU) is calling for paperless road transport operations, following recent developments with the electronic Air Waybill (e-AWB).

According to IRU, the e-AWB will become the default contract of carriage for all air cargo shipments on trade lanes from 1 January 2019.

The Union has welcomed this change, highlighting the road transport industry’s equivalent, e-CMR.

“In its paper-based format, the CMR consignment note brings many benefits: it harmonises contractual conditions for goods transported by road and helps facilitate goods transport overall,” the IRU said in a statement. “A global e-CMR solution would retain all these benefits, but would make the system more modern, by removing paperwork and handling costs. This is why IRU supports its members and the wider industry in adopting e-CMR.”

IRU Global Innovation lead, Zeljko Jeftic, said that all industry modes need to go hand-in-hand when it comes to digitalisation in order to enable more efficient intermodal operations for the benefits to be truly felt. He added that e-AWB is not new but the fact that airfreight aims at swift progression towards 100 per cent uptake is.

A large part of airfreight in Europe and beyond is carried by truck through Road Feeder Services, according to the IRU.

“These trucks are even included in flight schedules,” IRU said in a statement. “However, as soon as the highly digital air freight industry hits the road, it faces delays as a result of requirements for paper documents, such as consignment notes. The widespread adoption of e-CMR is therefore a priority for the industry.”

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