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Kenya Airways cargo goes electronic

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 18 – With air freight gaining a stronger focus in its business, national flag carrier Kenya Airways has announced that it is in the process of implementing the IATA electronic cargo platform E-Freight.

This will make Kenya Airways only be the second airline in Africa to achieve this. With this development, KQ Cargo promises a more efficient and reliable air freight system.

KQ Cargo General Manager Sauda Rajab said that implementation of E-Freight was part of a wider transformation exercise, where the cargo business had invested in modern information and communication systems to improve the cargo operations process.

“These include the installation of an Integrated Cargo System designed to internally strengthen the KQ Cargo operations,” said Ms Rajab.

And added: “Previously the air cargo industry heavily relied on paper-based processes to support the movement of freight. The average airfreight shipment generates up to 30 different paper documents – increasing the cost of airfreight and lengthening transport times.”  

The full use of the new cargo system comes in the wake of the improved performance of the KQ Cargo business which registered a 14 per cent increase in tonnage during the first quarter of the year.

She pointed out some of the challenges that the airline had been facing with cargo were not necessarily unique but had to be dealt with nevertheless.

These included customers wanting shorter transit times, lower prices and increased reliability, while customs authorities pushed electronic information in advance. Additionally, the recent sluggish economic growth globally had put pressure on cargo revenue and therefore called on airlines to cut their service costs.

Ms Rajab explained that E-Freight was an IATA led initiative for the air cargo industry. It involves carriers, freight forwarders, ground handlers, shippers and customs authorities and essentially replaces paper documents with electronic messages thereby reducing costs, improving transit times, accuracy and the competitiveness of airfreight.

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IATA she said, had decided to take a multimodal approach to its electronic messaging standards, where electronic messages are now replacing hard copy documents – like the packing list, invoice and certificate of origin – used in all types of transport.

IATA estimates that with adoption of electronic messaging and documentation, the air freight  industry could save up to $ 4.9 billion.

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