The difficulty in determining the value of the eFreight initiative was the recurring theme of the first morning of plenary sessions at the annual CNS Partnership Conference this week.
The eFreight initiative’s goal is to do away with paper documentation end-to-end in the air freight shipping process.
The number of trade lanes that can support eFreight worldwide is rapidly growing toward 50% (weighted by traffic), but penetration is still a minuscule 3-5%. Airlines are keen to move on with the effort because of the cost savings and quality benefits of only having to enter shipping data once, but forwarders are not as sanguine. The question, “What’s in it for me?” was repeatedly raised by members of the audience from the forwarder community.
However, the consensus by lunch break was that participation would continue to increase. Government security regulations would eventually require end-to-end electronic documentation throughout the supply chain, or as with IATA’s successful eTicket initiative on the passenger side, a tipping point will be reached where the rest of the industry has no option but to join in.