[ID] => 9086
[post_author] => 34
[post_date] => 2018-01-26 11:03:31
[post_date_gmt] => 2018-01-26 11:03:31
[post_content] => When HCB stopped off in Geneva last October to pay a visit to the offices of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), we were quite surprised to see the lack of paperwork sitting on people’s desks. After all, if there is one thing we all know about the ability of computers to fulfil the promise of the ‘paperless office’ it is that computers generate much more paper than humans ever can.
But, as we spoke to James Wyatt, IATA’s assistant director of dangerous goods publications, it became apparent that the paper-free environment in which he works mirrors a move towards greater use of online and electronic versions of IATA’s publications.
Indeed, at the time of our visit Wyatt was hard at work on the Electronic Flight Bag (eFB), a reference tool for flight crews that includes a condensed version of IATA’s Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR). This is proving very popular, he said, with Emirates airline being the first major customer. Helicopters and military operators are also very interested in this product.
Indeed, Wyatt said, publications are increasingly moving to electronic formats; including IATA’s Lithium Battery Shipping Guidelines, which draw out the relevant provisions in the DGR and present them in a user-friendly way for shippers that may often not be au fait
with the DGR themselves.
DEMAND MOVES ELECTRONIC
That customer demand for electronic and online publications is strong should come as no surprise. Use of electronic editions not only saves time, it increases efficiency and regulatory compliance while also reducing errors. In this respect IATA is no different to any other information provider.
Acceptance personnel can look forward to great things from another current project, DG AutoCheck, the aim of which is to reduce the burden of repetitive work and increase efficiency – and, most important of all, safety. After all, the current paper checklist for acceptance personnel has 53 questions for each shipper’s declaration (DGD)
In this new system, each DGD can be sent electronically to DG AutoCheck or can be scanned and read by optical character recognition (OCR) software. The DGD data is then verified against the DGR, providing the checker with an output of the check and an image of the package(s) or overpack(s) to support the physical check, including labelling and marking, of the shipment itself.
One benefit of doing this electronically, as DG AutoCheck is based on the XML version of the DGR, is that it automatically updated with the latest information on all regulatory items, including State and operator variations, further reducing the chances of goods being held up in the transport chain. This does, though, depend on the identity of all parties in the chain – the State of origin and destination as well as the carrier – being known.
“Industry is crying out for this,” said Paul Horner, manager of IATA’s dangerous goods standards. He believes that the system will reduce errors, halve the time taken to check documentation and give acceptance personnel more time to focus on problem shipments. It will, though, require users to perform a full manual check of a certain proportion of DGDs, to ensure that the competence of the acceptance checker is maintained.
DG AutoCheck is in final development and will be thoroughly tested in a pilot programme involving airlines, freight forwarders and ground handlers. Formal rollout is planned for the second half of this year.
THE FUTURE IS INEVITABLE
Moving towards electronic publications is all part of a broader project at IATA, known as ‘Simplifying the Business’ or StB for short. This has six elements, of which one is the electronic air waybill (e-AWB), and takes what is described as a ‘family of approaches’ across the organisation.
One of the six elements is the Air Cargo Incident Database (ACID), a project currently being explored. IATA wants to understand its members’ needs, opinions and concerns before progressing further. There is, Horner said, clearly an appetite for a single global database of air incidents but there are the usual worries about publication of such details deterring the reporting of them – it has to be anonymous. It also has to be easy to use if it is to be of value to those involved in the airfreight business.
But having the real information available, in a form that can be interrogated, would improve the management of safety. “Today everything is based on perceptions,” Horner said; there is a need for real data. Interestingly, the initial focus of work to develop ACID will concentrate on dangerous goods incidents.
Another current project is already making a change in the use of IATA documents: the IATA Desktop Reader. This is free to download and installed on any computer running Windows and allows all IATA documents to be opened in a single application. The possibility is now also there for mobile applications such as iOS and Android.
Further information on IATA’s electronic publications can be found on its website at www.iata.org/publications/Pages/standards-manuals.aspx
. To learn more about the DGR, go to www.iata.org/dgr
[post_title] => Out of the clouds
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[post_name] => out-of-the-clouds
[post_modified] => 2018-01-26 11:03:31
[post_modified_gmt] => 2018-01-26 11:03:31
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