The airfreight sector, long known for lagging other industries in implementing advancements, is finally making moves to catch up with the technological times, carrier by carrier. One recent example is Southwest Cargo, which announced its planned implementation of a new point-of-sale system, called Southwest Cargo Suite (SCS), schedule to launch on March 25.
The biggest change SCS will introduce to Southwest Cargo’s operations is the ability for cargo customers to book shipping space in advance, though as of now the airline will not require its cargo customers to book in advance. Advance booking will not be rolled out at the same time the new system launches, but will likely undergo pilots first, the carrier said in a webinar yesterday.
Other offerings with the new SCS include:
- International and interline cargo capabilities, with international cargo transport options beginning in Mexico and expanding from there, and interline capabilities focusing on a few key specific carriers that match Southwest’s cargo philosophy.
- The acceptance of electronic air waybills (eAWBs), meeting IATA’s single-process methodology by completely phasing out paper air waybills.
- The eventual introduction of customer allotments, granting customers the ability to reserve space long-term, after Southwest Cargo completes more testing.
- A refresh of SWAcargo.com to provide better mobile access later in 2018.
- The introduction of a customer portal in 2019, adding a new booking channel for online booking and adding the ability to retrieve invoices, pull up eAWBs and more.
Between now and the March rollout, Southwest Cargo said it will work to educate its customers on the new system and the changes it will bring to the carrier’s cargo business. Southwest is also making sure its fleet matches up with its new cargo strategy with the addition of more 737 MAX 8 aircraft.
During the Thursday webinar, Southwest’s senior director of cargo and charters, Wally Devereaux, praised the MAX 8’s “length of haul opportunity,” and its ability to “fly further and carry more weight.”
The carrier recently exercised 40 MAX 8 options for 2019-2020 and accelerated 23 firm orders from 2023-2024 to 2021-2022. Meanwhile, Southwest deferred 23 orders for the smaller MAX 7.
Those interested in learning more about the global express market, or the future of the worldwide freighter fleet are invited to join us at Cargo Facts Asia 2018. The event will be held Apr. 23-25 at the Mandarin Oriental Pudong in Shanghai. For more information, or to register, visit www.cargofactsasia.com
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