John DeBenedette & Dan March
WIN managing director John DeBenedette (left) and WCA chief executive Dan March (right)

The WCA’s IT platform WIN, which connects forwarders to over 90 airlines, is to offer free e-Air Waybills (eAWBs) to its members for the rest of 2016.

The move is part of package designed to induce more forwarders to connect to the system.

WIN previously charged $1 per eAWB, and the impact of the new free regime would be immediate for forwarders – other platforms tend to charge forwarders $1.75-$3.50 per eAWB while airlines offer fee reductions for filing eAWBs due to the increase in efficiencies.

US airlines commonly charge $25 per paper AWB.

WIN managing director John DeBenedette said the advantages went far beyond the purely financial.

“The real benefit is the real-time tracking of cargo that the system provides.

“Independents can act now to gain the same level of efficiencies already enjoyed by multinational forwarders and tap into the growing trend of airport fast-lanes for cargo tendered with electronic data in advance.”

Mr DeBenedette said the biggest challenge in seeing the system adopted across the WCA network was “getting the software companies in 180 countries to do a one-time connection to WIN”.

“But what WIN does is bridge dissimilar systems around the world and keeps them completely in sync. If you are connected to the system and tracking a shipment through it; when an airline updates information about it, or a member in another country inputs data about it, it is automatically update on your system,” he explained.

Mitch Kamdar, director of US-based WCA member Worldwide Logistics Partners, told The Loadstar that the system had allowed his company transform itself from a straightforward air and sea freight forwarder to something approaching a global logistics provider – thanks to the increased connectivity and visibility it now has with its WCA partners across the globe.

“With our WCA partnerships we are able to offer global end-to-end supply chain solutions, and we have invested in the WCA’s WIN system, which means we have the same IT capabilities that the large multinationals have,” he said.

Dan March, WCA chief executive, added: “For our members, going electronic is not just about eliminating paper or helping airlines increase their efficiency which is all well and good, but equally important it’s about benefiting from the real-time shipment visibility, system integration, and member collaboration features that we’ve also built into WIN.”

The development today was also welcomed by Glyn Hughes, IATA’s global head of cargo.

“I applaud WCA’s leadership for supporting air cargo’s drive to go paperless. Air cargo needs to upgrade its value proposition as shipper expectations become ever more demanding and paper-based solutions just can’t deliver the quality, transparency and predictability that is required.”

The WIN eAWBs are also available to non-WCA members, although they will continue to be subject to the $1 per booking fee, and Mr March revealed that a couple of multinational forwarders have also signed up to the system.

“It is not the whole multinational but rather some offices in particular countries which haven’t yet been connected up to their respective corporate systems, but urgently need to be filing eAWBs,” he said.

“We are at a tipping point with the level of e-AWB adoption in the industry approaching the halfway mark,” Mr DeBenedette added.

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