A standardised logistics data system that can be used across the air cargo supply chain will be hard to develop but is not a pipe dream, the first conference session at air cargo europe heard.
Panelists speaking in the age of digital and the connected discussion moderated by Maresch owner, Bernd Maresch, said it would provide a huge boost to the industry and meet future needs of shippers, but due to the fragmentation of the chain it would be hard to create.
Oliver Wyman partner, Joris D’Incà explained: “The question is can we bring all the supply chain together and build the transparency. It is very fragmented with many players.”
Some air cargo airport communities such as Brussels and Frankfurt are developing their own systems for use across freight stakeholders within their own individual communities.
Brussels Airport’s cargo development manager, Sara Van Gelder said that Brussels is in its first phase of rolling out the platform, but questioned how it is possible to get everyone moving in the same direction across the industry while it was more likely to happen within airport communities.
“Starting communities one at a time is a good approach because everyone works on developing a data cloud and they are open minded about keeping it inter-operable with other data clouds,” she said.
Van Gelder believed it will be hard to start with a global initiative, but there could be a way of connecting community to community, adding: “Keeping these community data clouds inter-operable is the most important part and making sure they can form a network in the end.”
Developing a platform for use across the supply chain and not just for separate communities is vital in the view of Lufthansa Cargo’s executive board member for products and sales, Dr. Alexis von Hoensbroech, but he felt it will happen one day.
“In these communities it is creating value, but the real value will only be unlocked when it involves the entre supply chain and there are IT players that are pushing this.
“We saw in the passenger chain a concept from the 80s when airlines and airport developed at platform by Amadeus. Maybe this will be the way for the industry,” he said.
Von Hoensbroech said maybe one day some big airlines, forwarders and shippers will join forces to create a system, which will help pull the rest onboard.
He was upbeat about one standard platform being developed despite the challenges as said the race is on among operators across the air cargo supply chain: “Eventually we will have it and someone will make the race.”