‘Ancestor worship’ is preventing industry digitalisation, says ULD Care VP

posted on 20th September 2023 by William Hallowell
Air Cargo Handling and Logistics 2023 conference

ULD Care vice president, Bob Rogers, says “ancestor worship” over paper is preventing the air cargo industry from digitalising.

In a speech at this year’s Air Cargo Handling & Logistics (ACHL) conference in Athens, Mr Rogers described how a lack of will to go digital is holding the sector back.

“The problem”, he said, is that “the recording of the movement of the URD [Universal Registration Document] out of the truck docks of the [airport] terminals … to the freight forwarders is being recorded on paper”.

“… The rest of the world is digitalising, but for some reason, the air cargo industry seems to want to stay with this – and that is just ancestor worship. What are we doing here?”

Introducing a new, “innovative” app, ULD Care is offering a new solution which records the ID of ULDs, the “date, place and time, the two parties” and the document details – including a photograph.

The company has also built a new back office system which enables people across the world to know where their equipment is, which is “totally essential”, the vice president said.

The trouble with the industry’s reliance on paper, Mr Rodgers added, is that it causes inaccuracies and the system cannot handle off airport transfers.

Forwarders would benefit from digitalisation with improved movement of ULD assets because they “will be more able to get hold of equipment when they need it”.

“The forwarders were screaming during Covid because they couldn’t get enough equipment – it was a nightmare.”

He added: “Cargo terminals would benefit [from going digital] because it’s a reduced administrative burden, instead of filling out these paper forms and then filing them and passing them around.

“There must be hundreds of thousands of boxes of these forms.”

Mr Rodgers continued that the release of the ULD Care app would benefit everyone. “This is a whole of industry solution”.