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We’re paperless, says Panalpina

[ December 2, 2013   //   ]

Forwarder Panalpina says it has become the first company in the world to achieve completely paperless flights for general air freight, on its own controlled modern 747-8 freighter planes. The first flight departed Huntsville, Alabama at 05:49 local time on November 19heading for Luxembourg – the world’s first paperless round-trip route for general air freight.

The move follows an IATA initiative in 2006 to get rid of the estimated 7,800 tons of paperwork that travels through the sky every year, including air waybills and document pouches containing original documents from the shipper, such as invoices and packing lists and to replace them with standardized electronic messages.

Panalpina now runs regular paperless air freight services between Huntsville and Luxembourg, from Luxembourg to Hong Kong, and from Guadalajara (Mexico) to Huntsville and is confident that it can fly all general air freight on its own controlled Boeing 747-8 Freighters without paper in less than two months’ time. The only exceptions will be flights to and from the Middle East, Africa, CIS, Mainland China and Brazil. By 2015 the company aims to eradicate 80% of pouches for all general air cargo, on both its controlled network and on commercial flights.

The average air freight shipment generates 30 documents that have to be handled by each of the partners involved in the shipment.

Jeannette Goeldi, responsible for global standards and governance in air freight at Panalpina, adds: “E-freight doesn’t happen overnight and it requires a lot of groundwork before it can truly take off. But our successes so far are an encouraging sign. We’ve established a solid foundation for the future, and we will continue to expand and improve our work to remain at the forefront of e-freight.”

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