With IATA’s goal of 45 percent use of electronic air waybills (e-AWB) by the end of this year, the cargo industry has some room to improve. IATA reported some good news in May, with a 27.9 percent e-AWB penetration rate, an increase of 2 percentage points over the previous month, and a record-high 410,720 paperless consignments. But the rate of adoption remains frustratingly slow, growing a total of just 3 percentage points in the first five months of 2015.
The track record so far this year has been a mixed bag. February penetration rates reached 26.9 percent, a 2 point rise over January, but then in March the rate dipped to 26.2 percent, and then again to 25.9 percent in April. To achieve IATA’s 45 percent goal, the industry will need to see improvement of more than 17 percentage points over the remaining seven months of the year.
The top forwarder by e-AWB volume reported by IATA was DHL Global Forwarding, again making strides in the right direction with 38.9 percent penetration rate in May, which is 5.1 percentage points more than April. DB Schenker also made headway, with 39.3 percent penetration in May, which is 5.8 percentage points more than the forwarder accomplished in April. Panalpina also made progress with 44.9 percent rate, 7.5 points higher than their April figures.
Ranking by cargo volume, Hong Kong and Hong Kong International Airport were once again in the lead, with 57.8 percent penetration, up from 55.1 percent the previous month. Singapore’s Changi Airport had a penetration rate of 58.8 percent, which is 1.5 points down from April.
By country, the U.S. was at 27.4 percent penetration, up 0.9 percentage points over the previous month. South Korea was up 4.1 points over April, with 38.8 percent penetration. Cathay Pacific was the top carrier, up a full percentage point from April, with 61.6 percent penetration in May, with Emirates at 34.3 percent, down 0.2 points from April, ranking second. Moving toward 100 percent e-AWB has been recognized by IATA as an industry priority, with the vision to accomplish this goal by the end of 2018. For a complete report of e-AWB volume and penetration rates, please visit IATA’s e-AWB page.
Randy Woods contributed to this story