A silver lining: Digitalisation

posted on 15th September 2020
A silver lining: Digitalisation

One of the few positives from the Covid crisis is that the pace of adoption of digital services and products across the air freight sector has been accelerated, notes Lionel van der Walt, president and CEO for the Americas at freight transformation specialist PayCargo

The air cargo industry has been heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and the entire supply chain has had to tackle a raft of challenges. Much uncertainty remains and the industry is unlikely to return to some kind of normality for at least 18-24 months.

However, one silver lining of this crisis is that the pace of adoption of digital services and products across the industry has been accelerated.

In the ‘new normal’ world, supply chains will be reshaped to make them more resilient and digital infrastructure and processes will play a major role as they can help build seamless operations.

Digital transformation across the air cargo industry is something that has been taking place at a slow pace for a number of years, despite its paramount importance to ensuring a competitive future for all. The air cargo industry is still broadly seen as being behind other industries, but there are serious efforts being taken to collaborate to create a digital eco-system.

Despite some great steps being made on digitisation, all parts of the supply chain need to up their game further and invest, as this crisis has taught us that digital services and products will be a fundamental part of the ‘new normal’.

Opportunity to reduce costs
Digitisation gives us the opportunity to be more efficient to reduce costs, give customers more transparency of shipments with realtime data, reduces paper documentation and cuts out costly human errors – and makes the supply chain more resilient and robust.

Since the start of the pandemic in March, we have seen even stronger demand for our digital freight payment platform, as stakeholders experience how a high-tech payment system can help their businesses in a number of ways, both during and after Covid-19.

Our platform helps eliminate human errors, removes needless paper transactions, facilitates data flows, improves transparency throughout the value chain, thereby enabling shipments to move faster, as the world moves towards a contactless and cashless society.

Collaborating with other system providers PayCargo has been looking to not only grow payers and vendors within this ecosystem, but we have also been looking at how do we become more efficient in collaborating with other system providers to add additional value across the supply chain. We are now integrated with Kale Logistics, Accelya, IBS Software, CHAMP Cargosystems and Unisys; our philosophy is all about ‘open collaboration’ and we welcome new partnerships with fellow supply chain stakeholders.

Everybody is cooperating, sharing data through APIs, which makes the flow of data more seamless and speeds up how we can transact, ultimately enabling us to facilitate trade by speeding up payments and the release of cargo.

PayCargo intends to play an integral role in the digital transformation of the air cargo industry, collaborating with industry partners to ensure the seamless flow of cargo and help grow a global connected high-tech digital ecosystem across the international freight supply chain.

Air cargo has shown resilience, agility and flexibility in the battle against the virus and the industry will continue to play a vital role in society. Once a vaccine for Covid-19 has been approved, air freight will be pivotal to ensuring the swift and effective distribution of millions of vaccine vials across the globe, as the air cargo industry can provide access to remote areas and cover vast distances rapidly.

This crisis should be looked at as an opportunity to improve the supply chain through adoption of digital infrastructure and processes with trust, collaboration and cooperation more important than ever.

Those stakeholders in the air cargo industry that prioritise investments and adoption of the latest technology are going to be the winners in the ‘new normal’ world.