Dubai leads Middle East with e-freight initiative

Paperless air cargo systems aimed at cutting costs, improving efficiency goes live.

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By  Andy Sambidge Published  November 5, 2008

Dubai has become the first city in Middle East to launch a new air cargo initiative, designed to cut costs and improve efficiency.

The International Air Transport Association's e-freight scheme has been implemented in the emirate, making it the 14th e-freight location worldwide to deliver paper-free cargo.

The ground-breaking system went live on Tuesday and is now operational on the trade lanes between Dubai and Singapore, Hong Kong and London.

Led by Emirates Airline and Dubai Customs, work started on the Dubai IATA e-freight initiative in June 2008.

It is one of five “Simplifying the Business” projects led by IATA to improve service and cut costs.

It puts in place business, technical and legal frameworks to enable airlines, freight forwarders, customs administrations, ground handling agents and governments to seamlessly exchange electronic information and e-documents instead of paper.

IATA e-freight eliminates the need to send 13 paper documents with air cargo shipments, effectively streamlining processes, improving speed and reliability, and reducing costs.

Ram Menen, divisional senior vice president Cargo for Emirates said: “The launch of IATA e-freight in Dubai takes us into a new, more efficient era for air cargo. IATA e-freight is a revolution for a US$55 billion business that generates 12% of airline revenues and has broad implications for e-trade and the global economy.”

In addition to Dubai, IATA e-freight is currently operational in Australia, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Mauritius, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, the UK and the US.

The industry has set a deadline of the end of 2010 for the implementation of e-freight where feasible.

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