Air cargo messaging standard gets closer with IATA-WCO collaboration

As any world traveler knows, situations can get confusing when the parties involved don’t share a common language. The same holds true in air cargo when it comes to digitizing across platforms, and industry organizations are taking steps to overcome the cargo language barrier.

To that end, the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Cargo-XML messaging standard has been integrated into the World Customs Organization’s (WCO) Cargo Targeting System (CTS) risk-assessment tool for the group’s member countries.

With this adoption of Cargo-XML – a messaging standard that IATA considers “the universal language for improving e-commerce” – the industry took another step toward digitization and the process of standardizing communication across data interfaces. The integration of the messaging standard with WCO’s CTS facilitates electronic communication between airlines and customs authorities, enabling increased risk-assessment accuracy for customs authorities by recording and supplying advance electronic cargo manifest information.

The agreement will allow customs authorities “to easily access detailed information about shipments, profile these shipments and identify those presenting a high risk,” said WCO secretary general Kunio Mikuriya.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency adopted Cargo-XML messaging in August 2016 to improve security through advance data collection. IATA estimates that about a third of the value of traded goods move across borders via air, which makes using standardized, digital communications “key to enhancing security, expedite customs clearance, optimize customs resources and facilitate global trade,” Mikuriya added.

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