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Transparency and standards in air cargo are under increasing internal scrutiny as the sector looks to improve its reputation and performance to attract more shippers.
Last week, the International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) launched its Cargo Service Quality (CSQ) initiative at its executive summit in Miami.
Designed to improve visibility and facilitate global standards across the air cargo supply chain, it will give shippers insight into the quality of service delivered by operators.
CSQ comes after a year of research led by board chairman and head of cargo business at Delhi International Sanjiv Edward and senior vice president of cargo services at SATS Cheemeng Wong.
Head of cargo and logistics at Brussels Airport Company Steven Polmans and chief executive of Kale Logistics Amar More have backed the initiative.
Mr Edward said shippers reaffirmed a view that weak visibility and a lack of uniform standards was limiting an air freight model, perceived as expensive, poor value, and lacking product improvement,
Secretary general of TIACA Vladimir Zubkov said: “The Cargo Service Quality initiative is a logical step for an association like TIACA, that integrates all the players of the air cargo supply chain.”
Participants will fill out an online CQS assessment form quarterly or half-yearly and will have access to a dashboard indicating strength and improvement areas as well as best practice sharing.
A pilot phase will run from January to February 2018, during which time assessment tools will be available for airports and terminal operators, with the scheme expected to rolled out to the wider industry April next year.
Backing has also been received from airports including Hong Kong, Changi and Beijing, and Mr Wong believes CQS will play a “key role” in standardising global air cargo quality assessment.
He added: “It will establish new benchmark parameters, identify strength and improvement areas, optimise investments and share best practice in the industry.”
Meanwhile, Cargo iQ, and the Global Shippers’ Forum have been working together over the last 12 months on a project that will see the two parties develop mutually agreed KPIs for shippers that will streamline with Cargo iQ’s existing Master Operating Plan (MOP) milestones.
Cargo iQ’s executive director Ariaen Zimmerman said: “Working with shippers is important to us because commitment of the whole chain is essential for its performance.
“We rare working with GSF to better understand what shippers need and help them to ask for what metrics we can offer.”
He said Cargo iQ was also looking to implement new ways of working to bring something to the market that benefits customers.
“The current plan is to share information, which we haven’t been doing enough as an industry, and we are now talking to the Global Shippers Forum on things like current projections,” he continued.
“Reliablity and control is often more important to shippers than speed. There could be 20 or 30 solutions for how to get something from A to B, then flights could be delayed or full and another solution would offer the same guaranteed performance.
“So we will offer real live projection and forwarders can route cargo in the most efficient way.”