Airfreight and AI


Airfreight is undergoing a significant transformation as it embraces cutting-edge technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI), to build a more modern, efficient sector. With the vast supply chain spanning production, procurement, warehousing and logistics, digital models can aid the seamless flow of goods, offering the industry a powerful tool. 

READ: Airfreight accelerates e-commerce boom

There was a shift towards digitalisation during COVID-19, especially in the cargo sector, as companies invested heavily in technology. While the pandemic is now in the back mirror, innovation is not.

With the world facing several geopolitical issues that could cause delays in the supply chain, Awery Aviation Software (Awery) CEO Vitaly Smilianets argues technology and AI can help keep things running smoothly.

“AI will bring more autonomy and efficiency to your operational workflow, ultimately increasing the airline’s bottom line. With AI, you can predict more demand, analyse more data, manage your pricing structure better and be more competitive in the market,” he stated.

Desire to go digital

The industry has observed this growing demand for digital solutions as companies increasingly find tools to take over basic tasks and boost their activities in specific sectors.

While technology streamlines and automates routine tasks, it doesn’t seek to replace human involvement. Instead, it aims to empower individuals by allowing them to focus on more complex and strategic aspects of their roles.

“There are a lot of issues with staff retention because many processes which could be automated are still done manually in cargo,” Smilianets outlined. “But AI and automation will help make people more efficient to ensure their work is more accessible, faster and wiser.

“For example, our eMagic tool uses AI to convert email and text enquiries from various formats and languages into a standard data format. This eliminates the need for an employee to trawl through these documents and input data manually.”

Moreover, the adoption of technology introduces a key differentiator within the industry. Freight forwarders who embrace technology and implement a fully automated process can operate independently and outside regular business hours. This, in turn, significantly reduces operational costs per booking, which will act as a critical driver in the widespread adoption of technology.

“The pace of digitalisation is mixed, but it seems everyone has a clear strategy towards an inevitable digital future,” Smilianets stated.

Outsourcing on the rise

While some freight forwarders have sought to build their digital solutions, Awery believes this is not an advisable situation, suggesting the outsourcing model is a more practical approach for the industry, especially as companies increasingly look for a complete package of tools.

“If you try to make your system, it’s a never-ending story. Systems require constant development and testing, meaning you must invest more and more,” Smilianets warned. “Also, if you have too many displaced or imbalanced systems, it will cause a headache for the end user. That’s why more customers are looking for one integrated solution.

“Outsourcing brings all the good experience and proven, workable technology of a software provider to your company. There is no need for you to reinvent the wheel. Awery can open the door for any customer, starting with as little as one or two products and supporting those looking for a more advanced package.”