Etihad Cargo creates Cristal with CargoSpot

Etihad Cargo has implemented CargoSpot Airline to be the backbone of its air cargo operations.

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By  Neil Denslow Published  October 11, 2004

Etihad Cargo has implemented CargoSpot Airline to be the backbone of its air cargo operations. The system will allow for faster acceptance, transit and delivery times, as well as enabling shippers to receive automatic updates about where their goods are. Since it launched operations in January, Etihad Cargo has quickly ramped up the payloads it has carried in the bellies of the airline’s passenger aircraft. In January, Etihad carried just 17 tons of cargo, but now it is lifting as much as 2000 tons per month. “Cargo has played a significant role in the revenue so far of Etihad,” said Robert Strodel, head of cargo & mail, Etihad Airways. “From the very beginning, the management of Etihad has placed a huge importance on this part of the aviation business… In the longer run, the plan is to have cargo contribute 20% of the overall revenue.” Currently, this percentage is ‘far higher’ though, Strodel adds. To further develop its aircargo business, Etihad has launched a new service called Etihad Cristal (Cargo Reservation Information Sales Tracking Accounting and Logistics). The system offers a number of advantages to freight forwarders, including the ability to receive automatic updates via SMS messaging, fax or e-mail on the progress of their loads. “As soon as the shipment arrives the freight forwarder automatically gets a message on his mobile [for instance]… They no longer have to run after this information, instead we provide it to them,” explained Strodel. The system will also speed up the booking process for sending shipments, by allowing freight forwarders to access the reservation system online, both directly or through or third party portal, such as G-FX. The CargoSpot solution can also be integrated with customs authorities’ back end systems to speed the flow of paperwork to them. This integration process will be greatly eased by the fact that CargoSpot Airline is a modern solution and also by Etihad’s status as a start-up carrier, which means it has no legacy systems in place. “If you have an old airline, it is bound by bureaucracy, rules that were established a long time ago and by old computer systems that have been added to all the time. However, we are new so we can purchase a completely up to date computer system,” explained Strodel. Buying an up to date system was one of the key selection criteria for Etihad as it assessed the various vendors on the market. The airline was also attracted to CargoSpot by the system’s ability to communicate over the internet instead of just by EDI messaging, and also by the fact that it could be deployed inhouse, as opposed to just being offered as hosted system. “We wanted a system that does not increase our costs as we increase our business,” said Strodel. “Most other systems charge you per transaction, so the more shipments you fly and the more air waybills you put in, the more expensive it gets. However, this system we have purchased outright, so the more cargo we carry, the cheaper the each transaction will get.”

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