Gulf Air Cargo launches e-AWB
Bahrain's national carrier Gulf Air has achieved another major milestone with the launch of an electronic Air Way Bill (e-AWB).
The first cargo shipment under the e-AWB was moved from Bahrain to Dubai recently and with this achievement, Gulf Air has joined the ranks of a very few e-Freight capable airlines in the region. The move also marks another important environment- friendly initiative as the e-AWB reduces the use of tonnes of paper used for filling in several forms and documents.
Congratulating the Gulf Air Cargo and IT teams that worked together to launch the e-AWB, Gulf Air CEO Mr.Samer Majali commented: “This is indeed a great achievement as it involves several stakeholders in the entire cargo supply chain such as freight forwarders, handling agents and customs and civil aviation authoritiesto ensure the seamless electronic process from beginning to end.”
He continued, “We are hopeful of turning our Bahrain hub into a complete e-freight station by the middle of 2014 with support from Bahrain Civil Aviation Authority, Bahrain Airport Company, Bahrain Airport Services andfreight forwarders in tune with IATA’s vision of achieving 100% e-freight by 2015.”
Mr. Hussein Dabbas, IATA Regional Vice President for Middle East and North Africa said, “IATA congratulates Gulf Air on its first e-AWB shipment and becoming only the third Gulf-based airline to achieve this capability. The e-AWB is a crucial step towards adoption of full e-Freight, which replaces up to twenty paper documents with electronic versions for every shipment. E-Freight increases the speed and security of air cargo, which will serve to benefit world trade and economic growth. "
Added, Mr. Khalid Faqih, Senior Manager Cargo Services Gulf Air, who is also the Chairman of the Air Cargo Working Group in Bahrain, “In today’s electronic world, air cargo still relies heavily on paper documentation with each international airfreight shipment requiringover 20 different paper documents; this not only increases the cost of airfreight but also delays the transitperiod.Besides, it is also not anenvironment- friendly practice to use tonnes of paper. By switching to e-AWB, we have addressed all these issues- lower costs, faster supply chain transit times, greater accuracy and adherence to regulatory compliance.”
With the e-AWB implementation, all cargo will be tagged with bar code labels in accordance with IATA’s cargo specificationsmaking it easier for the airline as well the customer to track and follow the cargo while in transit. The e-AWB will be introduced across Gulf Air’s network progressively in the coming months as it requires parties in the entire supply chain such as freight forwarders, airlines, handling agents and customs authorities to modify their systems capable of accepting and approving e-AWB information.
Gulf Air has been in the forefront in implementing e-freight – a project initiated by IATA. The airline has already implemented an e-Freight compliant IT system and last year introduced Cargospot- a fully integrated end-to-end cargo management solution.