The air cargo market has changed in recent years. Express service providers have set new standards for shipping air cargo, meaning that they can offer more competitive throughput times for shipping dangerous goods than the traditional air cargo market.
In addition, every shipment of dangerous goods has to be checked in, and is then subjected to a three-level inspection, involving a document check, an identity check and finally a physical check. Errors are often discovered during this process. In 80 percent of cases, the main reason for these errors is the paper-based Dangerous Goods Declaration (DGD) – a document which, according to the ICAO/IATA regulations, must be generated by the sender and enclosed with every shipment of dangerous goods. Errors in the DGD can only be corrected by the shipper. As a result, incorrect shipments are temporarily held up, time is wasted, bookings and deadlines are missed and high additional costs incurred.
Carry Out DGD Checks Early and Correct Errors When Necessary with INFr8
This was the basis of the idea to develop a solution that allows DGDs to be checked early and corrected if necessary – preferably even before the shipment leaves the shipper’s warehouse. This was also Fraport and DAKOSY’s aim when they set out to develop the new INFr8 shipping portal.
A common working group for the project, including launch customers Lufthansa Cargo and Panalpina, allowed the four companies to bring together their broad range of knowledge and experience from all fields of the air cargo industry. Lufthansa Cargo is one of the most important cargo airlines, Panalpina is a globally active forwarding and logistics company, and Fraport operates the largest airport in Germany, as well as a further 24 airports around the world. The digital implementation of the platform was carried out by DAKOSY, which operates the air cargo community system FAIR@Link at Frankfurt airport. The introduction of this global innovation underlines the role of Frankfurt Airport as a leader in innovation the air cargo market.
INFr8 Brings Together the Entire Air Cargo Chain for the First Time
The INFr8 shipment portal is unique in that it brings together the entire air cargo chain – from the shipper to the recipient. Data is submitted electronically by the shipper and transferred automatically to all parties involved in the process. An electronic version of the DGD (eDGD) is therefore created before the goods are dispatched on their journey. This allows the eDGD to be checked early and corrected if necessary, avoiding delays and guaranteeing that dangerous goods are processed seamlessly. The platform can be considered a significant element in IATA’s e-freight initiative. For the first time, it is possible to accept documents created by the shipper from a trustworthy source electronically, store them in a document cloud and make them available for all authorized parties to extract and process.
The first shipment with an electronic dangerous goods declaration was successfully shipped in mid-September 2018. It was a consignment from international pharmaceutical company Abott in Wiesbaden, which was flown from Frankfurt airport to Mexico City on Lufthansa cargo flight LH8222 – but this was only the beginning. The pilot version of the INFr8 shipment platform was initially rolled out for six months, and in spring 2019, the portal will officially go live, meaning other players in the market will then be able to benefit from it, too. The platform is independent of companies and locations. In the near future, INFr8 could help establish the eDGD in the air cargo process on a global scale.
The system itself also offers a lot more scope for further developments. It is entirely conceivable that INFr8 could be used for shipping other product groups such as pharmaceuticals. The portal would then become a central, integrated system in air cargo processing, allowing other shipment documents, such as commercial invoices, declarations of origin, license verification or warranties to be transferred easily and reliably.
Text by Behrend Oldenburg
Photos: Lufthansa Cargo, Fraport, DAKOSY