One step closer to paper-free eFreight


Everything is on schedule for the move to paper-free eFreight to be taken a step forward at Finnair Cargo. That is the confident view of Petteri Hellén, manager of e-Solutions, commercial partners and global mail at Finnair Cargo, after a Single Process Workshop held at Finnish Aviation Museum near Helsinki Airport in June.

“We hosted 98 forwarding agents in discussions about the idea of the Single Process launched by IATA, and what it means for the agents in practice,” says Petteri Hellén. “We are on course to meet the August 14 deadline to eliminate paper Air Waybills across Scandinavia, replacing them with electronic Air Waybills (e-AWB).”

Finnair is one of 11 IATA airlines operating in the Nordic region that are implementing the Single Process. These airlines – including SAS, Lufthansa and KLM/Air France – joined in the June discussions, underlining the cross-industry cooperative nature of the project. 

A joint meeting between the different airlines was held later in June in Stockholm to discuss training and the status of the whole project. 

A simplified process flow

The e-AWB Single Process is designed to take into account and simplify the previous system whereby freight forwarders would need to decide whether or not, due to regulatory or operational reasons, a paper AWB is necessary. 

Instead of two parallel procedures, the Single Process means that a forwarder only ever needs to send electronic data to the airline, which itself decides if a paper AWB is required. This simplified process flow is good news for freight forwarders and gives airlines more control over freight administration, ultimately reducing paperwork.

With the e-AWB, there is no longer a need to print, handle or archive paper AWBs, Hellén explains. 

“e-AWB brings accuracy, confidentiality and efficiency. It helps reduce operational costs and speeds up the delivery of air freight shipments – for example, there will no longer be delays due to the paper AWB being misplaced or lost.”

Cutting the paper weight

According to Hellén, the main issue for the Single Process is to encourage forwarding agents to implement full eFreight, alluding to the increased efficiency that will result from cutting the 20 or so documents that might be required in “traditional” air-freight shipments. “A large amount of data will go through the whole supply chain without the need to handle or file paper at any stage,” he clarifies. 

Bearing in mind that over 80 Boeing 747 freighters could be filled annually with the paper previously used in global freight handling processes, this represents a remarkable saving, in both processing and cost. It is also in line with Finnair’s policies on environmental sustainability. 

Hellén was pleasantly surprised at the level of discussion at the eFreight Workshop. “Participants were especially interested in the challenges involved in sending e-AWB information via Finnair’s eBooking web portal and how to minimize messaging costs,” he says.

Finnair and the other Single Process airlines were very happy that the general attitude at the workshops was positive. What’s more, there was a consensus that there is no alternative to going ahead with paper-free air freight.

Text by Tim Bird
Photo by iStock

Read more:
Paperless future: Finnair Cargo among forerunners
Taking paper out of air cargo


Published July 3, 2014

Category: Environment, Finnair Cargo