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It looks on the face of it as if things are, actually, really, changing. Or maybe that’s just good PR from those who are attempting to make e-freight reality. 
Ping: in comes an email saying DHL Global Forwarding is working with Cathay Pacific Cargo to “drive the implementation and adoption” of the electronic security declaration in the UK. 
Ping: Impatex (customs and forwarding software for those of you who didn’t know) has taken its first step into e-freight with the adoption of FWB and FHL messages to its system. 
Ping: Schiphol and Incheon have signed an MoU to promote e-freight. And who hasn’t read about Emirates’ first paperless flight of flowers?
Together, these stories make it seem as if change is in the air. But actually, this is a very piecemeal approach to a global issue – is that the only way it can work?
Ping: in comes another email, and guess who is the bad guy? IATA, again. “14 years on and still less than 1% of the cargo volumes move via C2K. Why have so few signed up for this? I think because people recognise it’s going nowhere.
“E-freight will suffer exactly the same fate if IATA doesn’t change course.”
My pen pal adds that while the integrators have got it sorted, airlines driven by the passenger product have not – and show little sign of doing so. The scope of e-freight is too broad, and should initially be limited to AWB, HAWB and Cargo Manifest only. E-ticketing focused on one document only. Why make cargo so complex?
And complex it is, especially for a humble freight journalist. Another email, a kindly correspondent trying to explain it all (Thanks, Ted!). But the part that stands out? 
“So many initiatives, and relatively few results. Lots of hype and missed opportunities. IATA can lay the claim to having contributed to the development of standards, but they have never attempted to push for, much less ensure, consistent implementation of what had been developed. Had IATA had a vision, it would be running a global CCS today and a global airline cargo system, so that not every time something changes in a message, all the vendors and airlines need to change theirs. It could have saved the industry billions.” 
C2K doesn’t seem to be moving forward (maybe the clue’s in the name). As one recent participant in a C2K meeting said: “What a waste of three days of my life that was! I can’t justify the cost to my business as there was zero value.”
There is still time to make e-freight not fall foul of the same mistakes, to mobilise the industry by simplifying things for those that are finding it too complex and unwieldly. 
I’d love to give you IATA’s point of view on this. Or even Des’s (who happily emailed to offer a response to the “Dear Des” letter on this blog). But sadly, IATA has enforced a media blackout and Des is no longer available to speak to the press. 
Instead, from IATA, we are left with statements like this (the question was on whether changes would be made to C2K: “With [these] improvements and a broader group of industry stakeholders, revising the format of presentation as well simplifying the accessibility of pertinent information would be a key step in positioning the C2K Master Operating Plan as an industry wide standard. It will open the door to making the underlying  process an open standard to all industry participants, whilst reinforcing the value proposition (i.e. reporting, benchmarking, audits, certifications, Q-improvements, access to C2K management team and member group) of being an actual member of the Cargo 2000 program itself.”
I leave you to deduce from that whether IATA is going to improve C2K. Or e-freight. 

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