Stakeholders want data pipeline for air cargo

24-25 April, 2017, Kista, Sweden, the concept of the data pipeline for air cargo was the main topic of the two-day workshop organised by the Trade&Cargo Facilitation Association (TCF) and hosted by Ericsson, a member of the International Air Cargo Association (TIACA). The event took place just three months after the launch of the white paper on the need for improvement in air cargo industry by the Shippers’ Advisory Committee of TIACA.

However much the concept of air cargo data pipeline is challenging, more than 80 percent of companies attending the event expressed their willingness to get deeply involved in concrete steps towards it implementation. The combination of hardware, software and services that connects trusted users to provide secure, fast and reliable data exchange in logistics increases business efficiency, reduces margins of errors and increases safety. This is a goal for all. Why hasn’t this goal been achieved yet?

There are several impediments that need to be considered: a lack of compatibility of legacy systems, strict oversight competition authorities, cyber security and privacy, compliancy, and eventually cost of investments made. But as stressed by several participants, the solution would be in simply starting the implementation process and testing the concept.  The idea of the Global Unique Identifier presented by Ericsson demonstrated that there are already tools available that bring the concept of the data backbone to the reality. Ericsson’s Global Unique Identifier tool allows, with one single “license plate”, to link shipments on a product level with the adherent data available in a cloud based solution. This tool can act as the digital data backbone.

Kista event showed a high level of engagement and determination from a wide array of stakeholders within the supply chain: shippers, carriers, ports, LSP’s, Port Community systems, developers, academics, associations. The EU was invited to present their initiative called Digital Transport and Logistics Platform (DTLF). DTLF covers similar topics to those that are on the TCF’s agenda which calls for a close cooperation between the two initiatives. Initially this initiative undertaken by Ericsson aimed at air freight only. But along the way it became evident that extending it to all transport modes would be the only way forward. At the end of the two-day meeting TCF members agreed to work on a proof of concept and value through use cases that do not just cover air freight. New meetings are scheduled in Brussels in June 2017.

For more information, please contact Rogier Spoel at