EXCLUSIVE – ACN hopes for full digitization in 4 years’ time

By NOV21, the Amsterdam cargo community wants to have a road map in place for further digitization of the chain, says Maarten van As, Managing Director of Air Cargo Netherlands.

The introduction of pre-notification as a standard practice as from 01SEP21 (see CFG 20JUN21), is only one step among many, he explains. “As in all airports, pressure starts mounting at the
ground handlers’ premises at the end of the week, with trucks queueing up,
” says Mr van As. “This has been going on for over 15 years, and all this time we have been looking for
solutions. We did not come any further than what I would metaphorically call ‘band-aid sticking’, so there was a need for a sustainable solution.

Far-reaching digitization will create greater transparency by marrying the physical flow to the data flow. In the latter especially, a lot of paper is still going round. On the individual
company level, the eAWB penetration may be around 80%, but if you look at the chain as a whole, that percentage is a lot lower.

Maarten van As is Managing Director of Air Cargo Netherlands  -  photo ACN
Maarten van As is Managing Director of Air Cargo Netherlands – photo ACN

Completing the jigsaw
Mr van As says that rolling out such as system will take time. “What we as ACN and Schiphol are trying to do, is to thoroughly cement the digital foundations over the next 3 to 4 years
through a series of steps. We are putting together a map with a lot of jigsaw pieces based on the neutral platform Cargonaut, supported by eLink.

So far, we have been able to implement pre-notification at the moment of departure. The next step will be to talk to the handlers to enable them to implement better time planning into their
systems. At the moment, you will still find a lot of paper documents, such as the ACN Goods Receipt, containing the ready for carriage, which has to be signed off. This is a sort of handshake,
still endorsed by a lot of people.


Digital handshake
We are trying to build a bridge for parties for which the eAWB is still a step too far towards a sort of ‘digital handshake’ by the end of the year. Looking further, we want to establish
where we will be in 4 years’ time. By that time, all the handlers will have moved to a new zone east of the Kaagbaan runway. This offers a lot of opportunities such as for parking,

We are looking into fencing, either digitally, physically or through geofencing. That would create a situation in which everybody who is collecting or delivering, will have to pre-notify
both the person and the truck with the handlers and partially with the customs authority. The premises would then only be accessible by that person and that truck during that particular

Mobilizing the work floor
Mr van As hopes to present this road map to digitization by NOV21. The first steps in the pre-notification process have been introduced since 01JAN21, when selected handlers were able to take
part. Since 01MAY21, this has been extended to all handlers, and as of 01SEP21, all handlers will have the opportunity to include pre-notification as part of the ready for carriage procedure.
That will involve priority and fast lane status.
According to Mr van As, it is up to the individual handling companies to assess the advantages and disadvantages. “Interesting for us, is to adapt the systems to accommodate the components of
the concept. But after that, they will have to be implemented as well. The system is already in place. It is, however, imperative for it to trickle down to the actual work floor, to make clear to
the people what their specific function is within this system. For digitization to work, all users must get on board. It is up to the management teams to get this message across.

Marcel Schoeters in Amsterdam

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Source: Cargoforwarder

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