IAG Cargo and Cargo Next

IAG Cargo’s latest report with Cargo Next on the state of the airfreight industry as their cargo customers see it. With 440 freight forwarders spread across 47 countries it’s importance who is it aimed at.

IAG Cargo report is complimented by other sources

The Summer 2019 report does lean on data provided by a variety of other sources. This could well introduce an element of steering of the report to satisfy their own ideas. Airlines have long pushed hard the idea of digitisation and automation in the air cargo industry. This may well be right for the bigger forwarders but does that really represent the air cargo industry as a whole.

440 Freight companies across 47 countries

440 Freight companies sounds like a reasonable number. However when spread across 47 countries that is less than 10 forwarders per country. When you consider that only 81% of freight forwarders who responded expect technogical innovations to have a positive effect questions begin to form.


When talking to freight forwarding companies what we have found is the lack of standardisation holds back freight companies. Take IATA’s eAWB initiative. IATA has produced their own tool eAWBLink designed around small to medium sized freight forwarders and is chargeable. Most CASS airlines also operates their own singular platform within their website which is generally free of charge. Then major freight companies operate using their own dedicated freight forwarding software.

The issue being that some smaller freight forwarder complain of the additional costs in either time going to each airline website or cost using a stand-alone IATA tool impacts their business.

IAG Cargo and Innovation

IAG Cargo are working on their own innvoative digital tools to make life easier. Indeed the Cargo Next report cites three major areas of development. Mobilus labs , Emu Analytics & Oxbotica. Oxbotica is an interesting concept using autonomous cars within an airport environment.

It is difficult to see why this would be of interest to freight forwarders or shippers. Unless it is to be rolled out alongside there competing projects like their re-locations service offered in conjunction with Santa Fe relocations.

If you’re not set up to book online you’re soon going to find it difficult to make a booking

Andy Connor, Managing Director, Hellmann Worldwide Logistics.

The IAG Cargo survey revealed that forwarders expect increased automation and digitalisation to be the year’s biggest air freight trend. An impressive statement but only 55% ranked it as their first or second most important trend. I cannot see what other important trends were listed.

Automation and airlines

IAG Cargo are not the only airline which is pushing automation hard. Lufthansa and Air France/KLM have been pushing online bookings rigorously for years. By removing the option to make a booking unless using their online booking tools they would argue that they have been successful. The question is by removing choice is that really a successful methodology for adopting change.

The difference in this report to others though has been the choice of industry voice used. This survey claims to represent the freight industry yet many quotes are from FLEXPORT who heavily promote their own digital software platform. Is that really a balanced and representative view of the standard, established freight forwarder.

The report is certainly of interest and worth reading but with an open mind. You can find a link to it here. Bear in mind the report’s URL comes under marketing in IAG’s website and when reading it maybe it should be viewed as such. That is why you need to provide your e-mail address to read it.

A marketing tool from an airline group looking to further increase digitisation and automation across their cargo sectors.

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