IATA looks to boost digital collaboration across air cargo


Its new platform simplifies the process of making digital connections, including enabling the efficient exchange of critical information, the association says

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has launched its Enhanced Partner Identification and Connectivity (EPIC) platform, which was created to support the digitization of the global air cargo supply chain. According to IATA, EPIC streamlines the process of making digital connections across the air cargo value chain by facilitating the exchange of information, including messaging capabilities and identities.

As the air cargo industry continues to move toward a more digital approach, airlines, freight forwarders, ground handlers and customs authorities need to be able to securely work together in this medium. This is no simple task, as today, more than 40,000 freight forwarders exchange messages with more than 450 airlines, and 23 third-party messaging service providers. Since there currently is no tool for companies to exchange the information needed to make these business links, the process of digitization is manual, slow and quite complex, IATA points out.

“EPIC is a simple idea. It makes the information needed to do business across a digitized air cargo supply chain easily accessible," said Nick Careen, IATA senior vice president, airport, passenger, cargo, security. "And in doing so, it will accelerate efficiency gains for air cargo. The timing of this initiative is important. Covid-19 has led to exponential growth of e-commerce, and shippers are demanding quality services that only a digitized supply chain can provide."

The participation of customs organizations in EPIC also supports digital customs clearance processes. This will allow for the efficient roll out of advance cargo information (ACI) requirements, including preloading advance cargo information (PLACI) programs.

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