Claims were made at the Air Cargo Handling Conference that was held in Milan that companies have tried to cut as much as 48 hours off of transit times for air freight shipments, but find efforts futile due to forwarders sit on cargo for several days.David Ambridge, a member of IATAâ€™s Cargo Operations Advisory Group, or COAG, claimed that IATA and COAG within the group has done everything possible to reduce complexity, because it is at the heart of a simple business.
He then continued to say, â€œWe really need to change if we want to be successful; we need to talk to our customers, we need to embrace e-commerce companies like Alibaba, eBay, and Amazon and get some of their cargo onto our planes rather than with the integrators.â€
One of the primary reasons that Ambridge detailed about the quicker transit times of integrators was due to integrators pre-cleared over 95% of their shipments. Alos, when later asked by Glyn Hughes, the head of cargo for IATA about what could be done to shave off 48 hours of transit time. Ambridge responded indicating that the most COAG can do at this point in time is to support the vision and better understand the causes of extended times.
Ambridge pointed out that the longest flight was between 16 and 17 hours and cargo handling agents needed about an additional 8 hours for processing at each end of the shipment. Combined the total time required is 24 hours in contrast to the 6 or 7 days that it often takes for an air shipment transit. Ambridge then asked, â€œSo what about the other days?â€ He then followed up his initial question with another by asking, â€œWhy does cargo get delivered two days before shipment or collected two days after the shipment arrives?â€
A delegate from IBS, a technology provider, mentioned that he observed the main reason for this was that freight forwarders were holding on to cargo so that they could be consolidated into a shipment.
One person asked if freight forwarders would be invited into COAG. Ambridge responded that he believes they all know where the problem is and they will be inviting freight forwarding representatives to come to them.
There was at least one person who defended the position of freight forwarders. The individual specified that it is necessary for freight forwarders to do because they need to provide customers with affordable options. If freight forwarders donâ€™t consolidate or hold cargo until a cheaper flight, then costs will go up and shipments will be less affordable. In the end, such a situation isnâ€™t good for anyone.
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