Air Cargo Challenges for 2019

Posted on January 08, 2019

Air Cargo on the Rise

Air cargo has become an increasingly popular route for modern-day logistics; a market that was once at a dangerous low, is now on its tenth year of profitability.  New age consumers and companies with the precarious need for fast delivery of goods paired with reduced oil prices, allow air to have a competitive edge on adversaries. To keep up with this ten-year high, air cargo is going to have to overcome various challenges in the upcoming year.

Challenges Quickly Approaching

1. Evolving Technology

In 2019, a new norm will arise in the world of air shipments. Following the eco-friendly, paperless trend, electronic airway bills (e-AWB) will soon be the default approach. With any big change comes human defiance and errors. Satisfying the need for hasty communication among workers and consumers with the new technology will be the first challenge to present itself,  in along with the need for critical information being uploaded correctly and in a timely fashion.

This new technology was first implemented in 2010 and as of January 1, 2019, it is the new standard but paper AWBs are still relevant for specific situations. This process allows to work out the kinks before it is not only the main option, but the only option.

2. Integration

Advancing technologies is allowing countries to become timelier with security filings. An issue comes to play when a good is being transported to a country that is not quite as “up-to-date.” Progressive nations have integrated Pre-Loading Advance Commercial Information (PLACI) systems. This allows for customs to directly access the necessary, importing communication prior to the goods even being loaded on the aircraft.

Technology is great when all parties are on the same page but incorporating the smaller countries with a system like this will be an ongoing, uphill battle. Not to mention that United States and European Union (EU) have incorporated different types of this system which adds to difficult integration. A practical, uniform system could open the doors to a bright future for supply chain management.

3. Compliance

In the coming years, postal organizations are going to have to follow a more rigorous set of rules to sustain international delivery. Incoming mail will have to be reported to customs agents in 2019 and soon to follow, air carriers will need to report as well.

To prove efficiency with these new requirements, there will need to be a consolidation of data between the transportation of mail and goods. This will harvest a need for closer collaboration of the two departments. Safety and security are the main goals and must be enhanced for compliance to be achieved.  

4. E-commerce

With ordering products being just a click away, air cargo has its hands full keeping up with the sheer volume of online orders. The global e-commerce forecast for 2019 is an astonishing $3.5 trillion. A combination effort from everyone in this supply chain is a necessity to succeed at such a high-profile system. To keep up with the high demands, the International Air Transportation Association (IATA) has implemented an action plan:

  • Simplify procedures and optimize flows to speed up the process.
  • Embrace new technology that ensures greater visibility and anticipation of e-commerce needs.
  • Collaboration between commercial partners to improve efficiency with shipments.
  • Challenge the status-quo and reconsider logistics business models.
  • Coordinate among the industry to serve better.

Embrace the Change

Change and new age technologies continue to dominate the present-day life and is inevitable among competitors in the marketplace. Keeping up with the quality of data, timeliness, and visibility will need to not only continue but advance to keep profitability high and effectiveness optimized in the air cargo industry.

Contributor: Amy Norman 


International Air Transportation Association:

International Air Transportation Association:

International Air Transportation Association:

Kroll, Karen M., Inbound Logistics:

Nuijten, Jos, Vice President of Descartes’:

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