Time to seize the digital revolution

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Mercator chief technology officer, Brendan McKittrick

The air cargo industry must seize the digital revolution to remain competitive, urges Mercator chief technology officer, Brendan McKittrick.

He says carriers must capitalise on digital opportunities and adapt, upgrade and enhance all aspects of their cargo operations to become more collaborative, intelligent, transparent, responsive and efficient.

This, he says will help them become safer, faster and smarter.

McKittrick predicts mobile technology and open API platforms are expected to revolutionise the industry and give carriers a real-time digital view of the entire air cargo supply chain.

He says: “Such technology can provide much greater end-to-end visibility and above all, the ability to simplify complex and challenging processes. Breaking down some of these enabling technologies should help carriers understand how to embrace this new era.”

Operational efficiency will increase and productivity gains will be made by the sophistication of digital data interchange and telematics, and advanced data analytics will make air cargo management less laborious, while smart web-based portals are predicted to create connected ecosystems.

Though digital technology is considered the long-awaited opportunity to break down silos in the cargo value chain, McKittrick believes the industry has been very resistant to adapt to the demands of the digital marketplace.

He says: “The industry is still affected by outdated technology, poor data, and limited information sharing. This in turn impacts the profitability of carriers, creates unnecessary complexity across the supply chain, and drives up costs for customers.”

The face of the sector is rapidly changing, and McKittrick describes the digital revolution as “one of the most transformational forces that the air cargo industry has seen in decades”.

He predicts a profound shift of importance will occur in the air cargo industry as digitisation progresses, and this means complex choices for carriers.

McKittrick says: “It will come down to disrupting themselves or being disrupted. Successful carriers will be willing to combine their offerings with digital sophistication to create new ways to deliver value to customers and differentiate themselves from less adept competitors.”