DUBAI – This year’s Air Cargo Handling conference ended today with stakeholders from across the air cargo sector promising to collaborate to make air cargo a more competitive alternative to land and water modes of transport. The general consensus was that greater sharing of data would be the quickest way to achieve such a goal. “We have to get rid of the protectionism regarding information,” Christian Bergfelder of DHL told attendees.
“A collaborative approach to providing solutions to the customer is the way of the future, working as a relay team,” added Andrew Lester, global director of healthcare for Expeditors International.
This week’s rhetoric sets the tone for the sort of technological adaptation that many in the industry say is overdue, however others such as Tony Sham, the new CEO of Global Logistics System (HK), cautioned that there was still resistance to this kind of data collaboration. “The momentum has been quite slow,” Sham said. “It’s not just a matter of technology, but also a matter of a change management.”
Sham also noted that air cargo has lower yields than the passenger side of aviation. “When you talk about changes,” he said, “you talk about carrots and sticks,” noting that regulatory changes are a stick that has already been felt across the industry. “Some authorities are already asking for advanced information due to security concerns. This will be a driving force for change.”
“Data projects are where the future lies,” explained LUG aircargo handling’s Patrik O. Tschirch, “It’s going to give us synergies for the industry as a whole.” Woolmer blamed the slow adoption of such technology on a misguided concern that companies will lose their edge by revealing their data.
“But we have to break down those siloes,” Tschirch contended. “It’s about the survival of the industry as a whole.”
“If we’re going to handle 12 million tons of cargo in Dubai,” concluded Youssef Beydoun of Dubai Airports, “we cannot do business as we are now.”
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