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IATA’s One Record finally appears to be gaining traction, after years of “ballyhoo” and “mess”. 

Yesterday Cainiao Network said it had successfully trialled the “full-chain cargo data exchange” on a flight from Hangzhou to Liege, while Champ Cargosystems and Lufthansa Cargo said they would begin collaborating on making One Record work. 

Cainiao said it had achieved “several breakthroughs”: the first application of RFID technology automatically, and in real-time, pushes the cargo status of shipments to One Record. It also did it simultaneously at both ends of the route, and said it was the first to transmit key node data for singe pieces of cargo. 

Cainiao, Alibaba’s logistics arm, said trials integrating RFID into One Record enhanced end-to-end visualisation and transparency of air cargo shipments. 

It is not the only company focusing on One Record. At Transport Logistic in Munich this month, Lufthansa Cargo and Champ Cargosystems committed to One Record as the open data-sharing standard. They claimed it was a first step to modernising the industry’s data exchange, and providing a shipment tracking API. 

Champ’s head of sales Dirk Thorwirth told The Loadstar: “It’s the first time something tangible has been arranged in the One Record sphere. 

“There has been a lot of ballyhoo around One Record, but this feels to us like the first step. 

“It’s something we can do with airlines, and we have a long-term relationship with Lufthansa. 

“We have to look at whether One Record has a different architecture, or a different way to exchange data, and if so, then what data? You have to start somewhere. 

“We are building that link. Our business model is focused on connectivity between airlines and forwarders, and this is what will happen at One Record. 

“It’s a bit of a vague system as IATA has it – so this is what we have come up with.” 

One Record has failed to gain full traction, perhaps because it has been led by airlines alone.  “A shipper told me: ‘One Record is the solution needed – if you remove the name IATA’,” said Stan Wraight, president of SASI. 

He added: “My only issue is IATA is an airline association, and can never get an entire industry to follow it, no matter how good the thinking is.  

“Existing technology exists that could solve a lot, and I mean a lot, of problems re data transparency.  

“The problem is every GHA does not want to share in a community, they want to create USPs for themselves. Last time I looked into it, Fiata also wanted to produce a document that the whole industry should use.  

“It’s a mess and that’s why solutions provided by “closed loop” logistics companies work and not the siloed scheduled airlines, and forwarders’ efforts.  

“ICAO is the only solution to all this. The United Nations resolution 33 called for a single window, so what makes IATA believe that One Record will succeed, where the UN is still unable?” 

Ashwin Bhat, CEO of Lufthansa Cargo, said in a statement that the industry has been “hindered by outdated data formats and legacy infrastructure for too long”. 

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