Dubai adopts global paperless cargo initiative
As part of a global initiative to reduce paperwork in the air cargo supply chain, a number of key regional airfreight and logistics players have signed a memorandum of understanding with Dubai Customs to increase the use of electronic correspondence.
The move most notably involves Emirates SkyCargo, which now facilitates the exchange of information on shipments into and out of Dubai in order to perform the clearance electronically. Others included in the initiative are Dnata, Danzas AEI Emirates, Al Tayer Logistics and Gargash Enterprises.
"Dubai Customs, as a government agency, has a responsibility towards securing the supply chain, since a disrupted supply chain has a direct effect on the economy," said Omar Al-Hamli, executive director of client relations, Dubai Customs.
"Through these agreements with companies such as Emirates SkyCargo, we are establishing a real partnership with the private sector for the purpose of moving from the ordinary paper-based environment into an electronic working environment," he added.
The programme will allow importers and exporters to perform 51 customs transactions electronically without having to physically visit the customs centres.
Using sophisticated technology, the electronic system will be able to monitor shipments from their original departure point through all destinations to Dubai.
Alongside offering environmental advantages through its reduction of the masses of paperwork commonly used within the sector, the e-freight initiative is also designed to cut costs and improve efficiency within the supply chain.
"Emirates Sky Cargo is honoured to have been chosen as a partner for this pilot programme. As a leading advocate of electronic freight movement, we are delighted that such a progressive programme has been initiated by Dubai Customs and the government," said Ram Menen, divisional senior vice president of cargo, Emirates.
"Such an initiative, when fully implemented, will allow a more fluid flow of legitimate goods through the air and sea borders and thus eliminating potential bottlenecks, especially when considering the current and future year on year growth expected for Dubai in this and future years," he added.
E-freight pilot projects were first launched by IATA towards the end of 2007 on key trade routes between Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK. The governing aviation body sees the scheme as pivotal for the future of the air cargo industry and has welcomed Dubai's efforts to increase electronic data exchange.
"We're supportive of any move to take costly paper out of airfreight. Dubai is also on IATA's e-freight radar screen. We are currently conducting a detailed assessment of Dubai's e-freight capability as part of our global efforts to free air cargo of paper," said Steve Smith, e-freight project director, IATA.