Full speed ahead in eFreight revolution


The move to paper-free eFreight took a giant leap forward at Finnair Cargo and across Finland on August 14, the deadline to implement the e-AWB (electronic Air Waybill) Single Process in the Nordic region.

The main aim for the Single Process is to encourage forwarding agents to implement full eFreight and e-AWB is the first step in this, says Petteri Hellén, manager of e-Solutions, commercial partners and global mail at Finnair Cargo. He anticipates greatly increased efficiency as a result of eliminating the documents, as many as 20, that have been needed to carry out “traditional” air freight shipments. 
“Large amounts of data can now pass through the whole supply chain without the need to process paper documents at any stage,” he says. 
It has been estimated that as many as 80 Boeing 747 freighters could be filled each year with the paper used in freight handling prior to the introduction of eFreight. Apart from being in line with Finnair’s environmental sustainability strategy, cutting paper from the process means less cost coupled with greater efficiency. 

Leader of the pack

Finnair Cargo is some way ahead in e-AWB implementation. The Single Process means that all shipments are accepted at a terminal without a paper Air Waybill, and full benefits will be realized when all 13 airlines in the Nordic Single Process team achieve full implementation. 
Hellén commends the active involvement of Finnish forwarding agents in the e-AWB Single Process and looks forward to seeing e-AWB being implemented across the whole of Scandinavia in the near future. “Hopefully the e-AWB implementation is completed by all the 12 other airlines as soon as possible to ensure full implementation across the Nordics.”  
“August 14 was our deadline, and in Finland implementation went extremely well,” he says. “Most shipments were accepted in e-mode. The launch day, which was Thursday, was challenging because that’s the second busiest day of the week for us. But our personnel took a positive attitude and were happy that they got plenty of practice straight away.” 

Well prepared

Hellén reports that most forwarding agents were prepared, and messaging procedures worked well. Those agents who had not yet completed messaging preparations were still able to use Finnair’s e-Booking web portal. 
He also knows that a new process always takes some time to get used to it. There have been some challenges in processes for Dangerous Goods (DG), for example. 
“We are flexible at this stage, and will accept DG shipments with paper Air Waybills. However, even in the first days, it was clear that many forwarding agents feel that this new way of doing things will be better than the old one, making various office procedures unnecessary. In general, our acceptance flow is as smooth as before the introduction of e-AWBs. I’m sure that everyone in the supply chain acknowledges that we have to remove paper and be part of the ‘e-World’.” 
Hellén promises that Finnair Cargo will continue to support forwarding agents with the implementation of full eFreight and a completely paperless supply chain. 
“IATA is also willing to help change paper versions to e-mode. In Scandinavia we will focus on improving the e-AWB percentage. This autumn we will start marketing e-AWB to stations further afield. In the coming months our target is to activate as many stations for e-AWB as possible.”
Text by Tim Bird
Photo by iStock

Published September 19, 2014

Category: Environment, Finnair Cargo