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The electronic Dangerous Goods Declaration has been used in a test phase at Frankfurt Airport since September 2018. The first paperless shipment worldwide was flown to Mexico City on board cargo flight LH8222 as part of a close collaboration between the Wiesbaden branch of medical product provider Abbott, air-freight forwarder Panalpina, and Lufthansa Cargo. While Lufthansa Cargo established the framework for the worldwide standardization of the eDGD, the technical basis for its smart handling processes is the eDGD portal INFr8, which was jointly developed by Fraport AG with DAKOSY and is currently being tested in pilot operation at Frankfurt Airport. In addition to these companies, the pilot group also includes handling agents FCS and LUG as well as many other well-known shipping companies, forwarders and Customs declarants.
The pilot participants reported positive feedback in their initial summary on 18 March at the informational event "Take off eDGD," where Fraport invited shippers as well as other interested representatives of the air cargo community at its headquarters at Frankfurt Airport. With more than 80 guests, the high participation demonstrates the growing interest in the subject. In his keynote address Max Philipp Conrady, Senior Vice President Cargo at Fraport, praised the platform: "INFr8 is a simple solution for a complex process. Across all industries, all parties involved in a transport process, from the shipper through to the airline, are brought together.”
"The electronic Dangerous Goods Declaration had also been discussed with great success at the World Cargo Symposium of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) held in Singapore the week before," reported Dr. Philipp Billion, Senior Manager eFreight at Lufthansa Cargo, noting: "The digital standard for dangerous goods shipments is an important innovation for the entire community." The introduction of eDGD requires a change process for companies, but also offers major advantages, in particular greater transparency and reduced documentation errors. Jens Handl, International Logistic Manager at Abbott, confirmed these advantages and also sees further potential: "Our goal is to include as many transport service providers as possible in the system. In this way, shipping processes can be simplified and working time can be used more effectively. In addition, new products and service providers can be integrated more quickly into the process chains."
The platform is also a forward-looking step for pilot partner Panalpina, asserts Thomas Müller, Head of Air Freight Export at Panalpina Frankfurt: "The transfer of Abbott's hazardous goods data to our system works seamlessly. We supplement the AWB and flight data and send the eDGD to Lufthansa Cargo via INFr8. We like the innovative approach and the pioneering character of the project. The number of users is still small, but our employees, especially the younger ones, are positive about the process and look forward to helping shape it."
The potential for optimization of the portal is already clear. For example, during the creation of a new eDGD, its quality can be improved through plausibility checks according to IATA regulations. For example, special country- or airline-specific regulations are included, the Q-value is calculated and the classification of the dangerous goods is checked. Analysis shows that 10 - 12 % more shipments could reach their planned flights if these kinds of documentation errors had been detected earlier.
Technical background of the INFr8 eDGD portal
The premise for the implementation of the Dangerous Goods Declaration was the development of an internationally recognized and applicable standard which correlates with ICAO/IATA regulations. Comprehensive principles for this were developed within the framework of an IATA working group under the direction of Lufthansa Cargo, Swiss, Air France/KLM and Cargologic and tested for the first time in Germany with the pilot project INFr8. Fundamentally, it should be used along the entire air cargo supply chain, i.e. from the sender or declarant via the forwarder through to the airline. Dirk Gladiator, authorized officer of DAKOSY, emphasized that this is precisely where INFr8 comes in: "Via the portal, all participants in the supply chain, regardless of their technical capabilities, are integrated in such a way that the airline receives a quality-assured eDGD - before the shipment has physically reached the airport. INFr8 can process all possible formats so that a standard eDGD always comes out at the end. Every participant needs only one data interface in order to be a part of it."