Air Freight Growing Pains
Anyone directly connected to the freight forwarding and transportation sector can attest to the meticulous and exuberantly definitive guidelines and entities enforcing regulations upon the industry. While technology is working to streamline the process, protocols are working to ensure safety – often at the cost of time efficiency. With the newest ACAS and ELD rules, air cargo is having to work exceptionally harder in adaptation efforts.
Electronic logging device (ELD) is a federally mandated process that took effect last December (2017) requiring commercial trucks exceeding one hundred miles per day to transparently note each mile. Six months later, the Air Cargo Advance Screening (ACAS) implementation required carriers importing into the United States to provide the following detailed list with the intentions to monitor cargo more strictly if the commodity had been manufactured or originated outside of the U.S.:
Air Waybill Number
Shipper Names and Addresses
Consignee Names and Addresses
While the goals of these procedures are completely justified and understood, they oppose the mission for quickness and rapid expedition that is often directly associated with and expected of air freight shipments. The weight of this burden falls on the freight forwarder to overcome and deliver as expected for the client. “The array of regulations by which logistics players abide can affect every link in the supply chain, from air to land. Such regulations are designed with the goal of ensuring the safe transportation of people and cargo, but can inadvertently make the transportation of goods a more difficult and time-consuming process. In an industry where timeliness is the bare minimum, are regulations in the North American airfreight market making it difficult for forwarders and carriers to do their jobs?” [Nina Chamlou via Air Cargo World]
The preceding nod to technology as a means for efficient processing remains prevalent and can be expanded upon. There are digital platforms and information technologies currently providing a certain amount of alleviation in regards to the regulatory burden. Allowing for documents and data under question to be sent electronically to the U.S. government for immediate review, exponentially speeds the process of shipment checks and balances. Perhaps this will evolve as the notion that pushes freight forwarding into a completely digitized and paperless era.
Digitalization allows for a faster data exchange rate and quicker shipment initiation, all at a lower cost. Theoretically assuming that a paperless industry will be instantaneous is naïve. Instead, thorough and procedural implementation will be needed. Again, with heightened security surmounting an already rushed process, a direct wink for an immediate systematic approach is a necessity. Will this be the incentive that takes air freight into the future?