Multimodal 2017: Industry needs to speak same language

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The industry needs to speak the same language to improve quality, Multimodal 2017 delegates were told in the Valuing Air Cargo Performance session in Birmingham (UK) on 4 April.

In the session, speakers agreed that quality has improved considerably but further improvements are still needed, and all players in the supply chain need to speak the same language.

The session was moderated by Freight Transport Association director of global & European policy, Chris Welsh, who is also secretary general of the Global Shippers’ Forum.

Welsh was joined by Cargo iQ executive director, Ariaen Zimmerman, Air Canada Cargo general manager Europe, Middle East, India and Africa, Mark Olney, Cargomind managing director, Paul Glaser, and DB Schenker director AVSEC and governance, Lothar Moehle.

Zimmerman told delegates: “Cargo iQ is an organisation with its routes in Cargo 2000, founded by forwarders and carriers to improve quality. Ever since we started in 1997, we have come to the current level we believe we want to offer the world, quality and what we mean by quality.”

He adds: “We work through collaboration, optimal quality the shippers need. The most important thing is we need to start talking the same language.”

Welsh says: “I can’t stress enough that shippers strive for reliable, predictable and secure supply chains. Some shippers strive for speed, but they want assurances that when they enter an agreement it will be delivered at a specific place and time. If it doesn’t do that then the product has failed.”

Moehle believes the industry is too fragmented, saying: “The airfreight process is highly fragmented, with a number of stakeholders involved in the process. It is difficult to discuss in detail where the limits are. With a large number of handling agents it is a task to bring all together in the same place. We need to go into the nitty-gritty to see where source of the problem is.”

Welsh thinks the industry needs to take advantage of new opportunities such as e-commerce, and says: “With the e-commerce revolution, consumers are driving supply chains and shippers have to fulfil. Shippers want more transparency in the supply chain and need more confidence. When they go to a forwarder they want a demonstration of what services they will get and how it is measured.”

Moehle says quality has improved considerably since Cargo 2000 was founded but the industry cannot rest on its laurels.

He adds: “E-commerce is a new challenge, the industry will have to be flexible.”

Welsh also believes the shipper needs to be clear from the outset what product service they want, explaining: “Do they want a forwarder or flight specific service, it could be a week but that’s fine if it’s been agreed. It needs to be clear right at the outset, the type of service is critical to performance.”

He points out airfreight is an expensive service so must demonstrate it is value for money.