Pictographs hinder Asian e-AWB

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Japan and Korea are ready for e-freight, but the characters in both countries’ languages provides challenges, according to Lufthansa Cargo director for Japan and Korea, Michael Stoermer.

Stoermer says e-freight penetration was about 20 per cent in 2014 and he is aiming for 30 per cent in 2015. 

Speaking to Air Cargo Week (ACW) in Tokyo, he says that customers’ IT systems are the biggest challenges, but the airline has been through a successful test phase with Japanese freight forwarders, Nippon Express, Yusen and Kimtetsu.

Data from the International Air Transport Association’s monthly report in December 2014 show that Lufthansa Cargo ranks 12th worldwide for electronic air waybill (e-awb) take up, and its new Japanese partner, All Nippon Airways is 40th. Stoermer tells ACW: “Our customers have special IT solutions for Japan and Korea, which adjust for the language and the characters. Forwarders explain to me that IT systems are adapted for e-freight. Sometimes they are the last countries as they need to cost in the language. We are working very closely with them, there are growing e-freight shipments from these freight forwarders.”

Stoermer also says Lufthansa will consider more joint ventures depending on how well the ANA deal goes.  Stoermer says: “We are looking for any opportunities to grow in these markets. Korea is more difficult as they have strong home carriers.” Last year Lufthansa announced a joint venture with ANA.

He adds that Lufthansa has about a 10 per cent market share to Europe from Korea and 21 per cent of the Japan to Europe volumes, up from 14 per cent in 2008, but down on 2013, when it was 23 per cent.

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