ORLANDO – It turns out that the air cargo industry has a lot to learn from the marijuana industry, based on the government’s success at tracking the pot supply chain from cultivation to final sale. In a panel discussion at yesterday’s CNS Partnership conference, delegates learned that regulators have been tracking the production of the recently legalized drug from the seed to the pot brownie at your local weed store.
After proving itself as a flexible and reliable technology to track shipments along the pot supply chain, CargoAware is deploying the same tech in the airfreight business, and the data is shining a light on long dwell times and other bottlenecks.
“There’s enough data to profile goods, and, with RFID, you can do that in real time,” said Michael Morey, director of advanced cargo solutions at CARGOAware, during the “Government Regulatory Compliance and Agency Modernization Projects” session.
Elizabeth Merritt, director of cargo services for Airlines for America, added that there are a number of government initiatives underway that support industry initiatives such as air cargo advanced screening (ACAS), and the automation of export manifests.
This is certain to modernize an industry that still tracks exports with paper.
One important development is government acceptance of industry standards, which has come a long way towards understanding industry milestones. In addition, the standards help support industry efforts to modernize.
The automated commercial environment (ACE), which came up multiple times at this year’s CNS conference, is sure to impact air cargo as well. ACE inputs all modes into one database, allowing dozens of government agencies, including customs, to watch a shipment from end to end. “They can see it from start to finish,” Merritt noted, adding that air cargo doesn’t have the equivalent on the industry side yet.
Merritt also commented that the industry needs to make sure that government access to more info doesn’t slow down shipments. That entails adapting bureaucracy to hone in on high-threat shipments – something that big data is already doing on the passenger side.
There are still challenges on the security side. Merritt stressed that the industry will have to eliminate redundancies that will pop up as technology evolves. With its new platform, she added, ACE actually puts the government ahead of business by eliminating the fragmentation that still defines the logistics business, and specifically air cargo.