Shipping cargo by air may be the fastest way of transporting goods, yet airlines and freight carriers are lagging behind when it comes to using new technology. The industry's use of outdated legacy systems and apparent lack of appetite for change has led a former CEO of IAG Cargo to describe the sector's inefficiencies as 'bordering on the criminal'.
Although the industry is showing signs of a positive step change, progress on initiatives like IATA's electronic airway bill - e-AWB - is sluggish. This paperless document was first floated by the IATA Board back in 2004 and even now, E-AWB penetration is just touching the 50pc mark.
There are many benefits of the e-AWB. A shipment can generate up to 30 paper documents and processes such as track and trace rely on human intervention. According to IATA, every year, more than 7,800 tons of paper documents are processed - that's the equivalent of filling 80 Boeing 747 freighters with paper.