The logistics industry is transforming, and so is air cargo.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently released their July 20211 data for global air cargo markets, showing that demand continued its robust growth trend.

In fact, global demand, measured in cargo ton-kilometers, was up 8.6 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels in July 2019. And according to the Association’s Director General, William Walsh, current economic conditions suggest that the growth will continue into the peak year-end demand period.

What’s more, with a shortage in shipping containers and congestion at international ports, the speed provided by air freight alongside improvements in overall air cargo capacity, is proving valuable to some businesses.

Despite this positive outlook, there is no denying that the fundamental process of moving a piece of cargo from A to B by air is more complex than ever before. And regardless of how much uncertainty you are navigating, customers increasingly expect transparency at every stage of this process.

Consequently, without the right technology tools, as a forwarder you are going to have to make a lot of phone calls, send lots of emails, and spend a lot of time on airline websites to get the information you need, which is going to be difficult and error-prone, for both you and the airline.

And that's where technology plays a key role, ensuring we can make the entire process work more effectively. One example is the ability to action direct electronic bookings in real-time, which while simple in concept, can be enormously powerful for freight forwarders for several reasons.

Improved productivity

For instance, using our eBookings functionality in CargoWise means you no longer need to wait in telephone queues or wait for someone to respond by email.

Importantly, it allows the forwarder to facilitate their booking, direct from their operating system, and at a time that suits them – eliminating data entry and improving efficiency.

Real-time visibility

Users also get visibility of booking status and real-time status updates when a booking moves from planned to be confirmed, or in circumstances when the booking is altered by the airline after booking confirmation. Plus, these booking responses can be configured in CargoWise’s powerful workflow module, to automatically notify staff as changes occur.

On top of this, real-time updates let users know whether all legs have been confirmed, or if there is a pending request for a particular or multiple transshipment legs. Not only does this reduce the time spent on manual bookings, but it also provides real-time visibility of booking status, and real-time status updates.

Powerful data analytics

All updated messages received from airlines are stored within the CargoWise system, allowing users to access the history of what happened with the flight, and can be linked into workflow triggers and alerts.

For our customers managing many flights, being able to use this data, and applying grid colors, can help them quickly identify any consol bookings that may have problems or need to be actioned quickly.

With so much data moving across the industry to support the air cargo process, it has become vital to manage this well, both at the booking stage and once cargo is in-transit. And for customers that operate large consolidation centers or gateways, they can monitor available consolidation information as a team, allowing them to react to exceptions quickly, making their operations more efficient and effective.

1Air Cargo Market Analysis, International Air Transport Association, July 2021.

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