The International Air Transport Association (IATA) today unveiled a digital product allowing air cargo providers to verify that a shipper tendering dangerous goods has met the industry's standards for transporting hazardous shipments.
The product, called Dangerous Goods AutoCheck, automatically checks the information contained in the shipper dangerous goods declaration against the relevant language in the IATA regulations governing the handling and transport of the goods, according to the global airline trade group. The tool enables electronic consignment data to be received directly, which is another step in the air cargo industry's years-long process to digitize data that had been handled manually.
Optical character recognition (OCR) technology transforms a paper-based declaration into an electronic format. The data is then processed and verified automatically using an XML data version of the regulations, IATA said. The tool facilitates a ground handler's or airline's decision to accept or reject a shipment during the physical inspection stage by providing a visual representation of the package with the marking and labelling required for transport, IATA said.
IATA said the platform will dramatically expedite the processing of the paperwork required for the tender of dangerous goods. The paper version of the IATA document runs 1,100 pages, and it is a complex and time-consuming task to verify that each shipper's declaration is compliant and that the package or packages are correctly marked, labeled, and packaged, the group said.
The program is a "giant step forward" in automating global air cargo supply chain processes, said David Brennan, IATA's assistant director, cargo safety and standards, in a statement.
The program's development was supported by 20 companies and organizations, including airline Air France-KLM-Martinair Cargo, ground-handling company Swissport International Ltd., Swiss freight forwarder and third-party logistics (3PL) provider Panalpina, and integrator DHL Express.