I got the opportunity to refer the e-AWB international monthly report from IATA today. Very positive outlook on the penetration level (48.2%). Good. But the industry needs to gear-up to achieve the 100%. The e-AWB target set by IATA to the Cargo Industry, honestly to me, is achievable. We have done it with the e-Ticketing, right ? Then, why the e-AWB penetration needle is moving very slowly ? Where is the issue on adopting the change ?
Let us understand some basics, in case, you wanted to recall on e-AWB initiative of IATA.
The Air waybill (AWB) is a critical air cargo document that constitutes the contract of carriage between the ‘Shipper’ and the ‘carrier’ (airline). The electronic air waybill resolution 672 (MeA) removes the requirement for a paper AWB. There is therefore no longer a need to print, handle or archive the paper, largely simplifying the air cargo process. 
The e-AWB Project is part of the e-freight initiative and aims at encouraging air cargo players to use the electronic AWB (e-AWB), instead of its paper version. Moving to e-AWB is a key enabler to achieve the 100% e-freight vision). 
The current e-AWB Penetration is given by IATA as follows: 
Challenges on Compliance
I can list few. (a) Legacy Model and unorganized spread (b) Freight-Forwarder (‘FF’) community is completely clustered with Small and Medium Freight-Forwarders. Limited investments made on IT upgrades because of small size of operation that they execute (c) Not knowing the endorsed IT tools are available. The list would go on… if we do more and more deep dive. But let us get into the solution now.
Surprisingly, many of them, particularly the FF community and the airlines need to know that there is an industry-endorsed solution called eAWBlink already made available by IATA. eAWBlink is a basic industry tool designed for small and medium-sized FFs to become e-AWB Capable. The best part is – the solution is hosted in the Amazon Cloud.
Please refer the high level solution (implemented) and what it can offer near future (currently under development, To be approved by IATA).
The Features and benefits are given below:
Obviously the above basic tool can enable the FFs to go ahead and start their e-freight future.
I have noticed the kind of customer experience eAWBlink brings to the FFs.
- No more Lost Documents, Invalid or Missing data – Business Rules comply resolution 600a, 651, etc
- Syntax Errors – should be corrected before FWB/XFWB sent to Airline
- High Visibility with Instant Updates and View Shipment status like FOH, RCS, DLV etc. to know about the live status of AWB’s.
- Immediately correct FNA’s
- Simplified registration process and Quick Account activation, Easy to use screens matching paper documents
- One time customer data configuration Templates to create AWB’s in minutes, High usability with rich user experience and Print or Send e-data in a single click
- Innovative Implementation which supports completely paperless processing by Interfacing with CCS to reach Airlines or directly
- Adapt any IT environment . No Infrastructure set up & zero CAPEX
- Pay as go pricing model with Data archival
- Utilization of industry resources
IATA’s initiative to bring such a revolutionary solution is highly commendable. The good part is the airlines and FF Community started using the solution now. However, the Cargo Industry should start looking at the tool – very seriously – in order to start their e-freight journey.
The future of e-AWB helps the industry and Customers a lot.