Saudia Cargo (SV), the freight arm of Saudi Arabia’s national carrier, announced the country’s first e-AWB export shipment, flown on behalf of local agent Express Forwarding Services (EFS).

The ground-breaking 545-kg shipment was successfully transported on Saudia flight SV303 from Jeddah to Cairo, Egypt on 14 April.

A number of major challenges were overcome, including the refinement and enabling of the airline’s systems and operational processes for e-AWB shipments and a sustained educational outreach campaign to promote e-AWB engagement with Saudi-based logistics companies.

Peter Scholten, Vice President Commercial of Saudia Cargo expressed delight that the independent freight forwarding sector was helping SV to pioneer e-AWB transformation in the country. “EFS got involved after attending an e-AWB launch meeting hosted by Saudia Cargo.”

As a leading agent in the region and a member of WCA, one of the ELITE logistics networks, EFS was eager to participate. The process was made simple through the adoption of WIN (Worldwide Information Network) – a new industry solution providing global connectivity for independent freight forwarders.

Nadir Kalappadan, Business Development Manager of EFS, stated: “We agreed to participate in SV’s e-AWB program because our commitment to deliver excellent service to our customers means we must stay at the forefront of technology. Furthermore it was easy to join the IATA Multilateral e-AWB Agreement (Resolution 672) through the click-to-agree feature of WIN website. We use WIN to make our Seafreight and quote operations efficient, now WIN also helps connect to airlines for e-AWB and get real time status updates. Since we were already using WIN, transmitting the shipment electronically to SV was really easy.”

Des Vertannes, Global Head of IATA Cargo, highlighted that this go-live is a major breakthrough in many ways: “Saudi Arabia is an important air cargo market which is now adopting e-AWB under the strong leadership of its national airline Saudia Cargo. EFS involvement demonstrates that the e-AWB is easily accomplished by small and medium sized freight forwarders. I expect the Middle East to reinforce its position as the most advanced region of the world in terms of e-AWB adoption in the coming months.”

John DeBenedette, Managing Director of WIN, added that the success of EFS and Saudia Cargo was a snapshot of the acceleration in e-AWB shipments sent via WIN around the globe. “Our mission is to provide independent forwarders with a cost-effective global connectivity solution. With our easy to use e-AWB solution, we are proud to be doing our part to advance air cargo’s e-Freight initiative and assist airlines by increasing their e-AWB penetration with independent agents.”