On 6 April the air cargo chain at Schiphol took the next step in the digital pre-notification procedure for export cargo. In order to be able to continue to have priority to drive directly to the docks, accurate and correct aviation security is to be an integral part of the eLink checklist. If the aviation security is not (yet) in order then the transporter or forwarder will have to, as in the old days, make a time-consuming stop at the counter. ACN Managing Director Maarten van As: “The handling agents are going to be much stricter at the entrance.”

The handling agents introduced electronic pre-notification of export cargo at Schiphol on 1 January. The upgraded version of eLink gives forwarders and hauliers priority with the delivery of their cargo at Schiphol. The whole community is, together with developer Cargonaut, gradually working towards the definitive introduction of this system on 1 September. During the project group’s weekly evaluations, it was decided to compulsorily include Aviation Security in the electronic pre-notification via eLink. This will become an integral component of the information that must be correctly and accurately supplied before arrival at the airport. Incorrect pre-notifications will mean stopping to visit the counter and, ultimately, will involve extra costs. Advance notification of correct security information will prevent unnecessary delays and costs.

Specifics: IT system adjustments
What does this mean specifically? Two things must be in order in the IT area. First and foremost, the software. In order to be able to correctly input Aviation Security, it is necessary to have FWB Cargo-IMP (IATA) version 16 or 17. “If you are still working with an older version of FWB messaging, the security information cannot be input into the OCI segment and the digital pre-notification will halt.” The second prerequisite, and this is no easy task, is that the data must be entered in the correct manner and it must be complete. For this reason, a step-by-step aviation security-assistant has been compiled (see link).

High quality data means faster delivery and handling of cargo
According to Van As, this new step in the system of electronic pre-notification is badly needed as currently data is not synchronised with the operational stream. This whilst the data and cargo together are one product. If something is not right with your data then the chain halts and you have to continue further with a slower logistic process.

“In addition to the IT changes, we are talking here about an operational procedural change that has to be undertaken, understood and incorporated organisation-wide. In various shifts you will need to get people on board and (perhaps) you might have to adjust systems and convince people in several locations.” Digital pre-notification is not a financial closing item that can be undertaken on the side. It is the future system for the delivery and handling of export cargo at Schiphol and a first step towards complete digital pre-notification for all streams.

A cultural shift is needed, he emphasises. “This is a so-called tie-problem, all chain partners must be inter-connected.  Sometimes things may take a while longer but what we must not do is sit about waiting for each other.” This means that on occasion some things may have to be arranged sub-optimally. Alone you are fast, but together we get ever further.” He would prefer to see organisations assigning a dedicated team to oversee and coordinate the implementation of electronic pre-notifications in all layers of the organisation in order that the new system becomes second nature and entrenched in daily routines. “But this begins with sufficient support from company management”, Van As stresses.

Use the period until 1 September
From 1 September this will become part of the (local) Ready-For-Carriage procedures which will mean, without pre-notification, joining the back of the queue and incurring additional costs. It is therefore vitally important that the chain partners use the months until September to try out the system both internally, as well as with their external partners, in order to learn how to use it. This will mean listening to one another, experimenting and perhaps even at times temporarily arranging things sub-optimally to ultimately ensure a  better end result. “For too long we have been busy with internal optimalisation and too little with ‘peeking over the wall’, i.e. chain optimalisation. We now have a form of interaction where you can see from the data what operationally is not working well.  This should then also be included in the data. Thus, internal and external processes, operations and information are continually attuned to each other”.

More information
Would you like help with digital pre-notifications or an eLink refresher course? helpdesk@cargonaut.nl