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Tue, 11 April 2023

Cathay Cargo Upgrades Mail-Handling Capability

(11/04/23)  Cathay Cargo has upgraded its integrated mail platform with a digital solution that provides greater transparency for post offices and the track-and-trace visibility their customers expect.

With Cathay Mail, the airline is able to provide a superior customer experience that better caters to the requirements of post offices for shipment visibility, reliability and speed.

“Cathay Mail highlights how we have adapted technology and digitalisation to offer real benefits to our customers. By fully integrating mail-handling functions with our cargo operations and expertise, our innovative new mail solution provides a sophisticated suite of tools and facilities to support our postal partners,” said Tom Owen, Director Cargo.

Cathay Cargo B747-4F reg: B-LIC. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Click to enlarge.
Cathay Cargo B747-4F reg: B-LIC. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com

Cathay Cargo’s refreshed “mail as cargo” solution integrates mail-handling data with air cargo systems using the PAWB – the postal air waybill. This use of electronic data interchange (EDI) technology removes much of the previous shipment paperwork and gives both origin and destination post offices, and designated operators, more visibility of shipments down to mail bag (or “receptacle”) level, allowing them to offer package-level track-and-trace visibility to e-commerce shippers.

The information also enables Cathay Cargo to manage capacity against actual volumes of mail on flights, so it can make allowances for surges in ad hoc demand or make unused space available for other cargo.

There is an additional benefit for mail heading to Europe where, by making the information available in advance, mail shipments will be compliant with the European Union’s new ICS2 customs requirements, which are being introduced this year.

Thanks to the digital data available from the PAWB, it is now easier not only to reconcile shipments for billing, but also to measure performance. Cathay Cargo will be adding KPIs to its mail performance monitoring suite, which is accessible on the EzyPost platform. Indices such as on-time delivery and visibility performance will be accessible and updated from live data.

In addition, Cathay Mail enables efficient operational recovery should an aircraft be grounded at an intermediate stop. Staff will be able to identify and segregate express mail shipments for priority uplift, and this will be visible in the system.

Cathay Cargo aims to outperform the 95% industry “visibility performance” standard and will set its own stretch targets to ensure it exceeds contractual standards. The EzyPost platform will also produce monthly reports that will be available to post office customers.

“This new investment in our mail-handling capability increases the attractiveness of Hong Kong as a global mail hub, giving post offices the confidence to move mail more seamlessly to, from and through Hong Kong,” added Owen.

In the India market, Cathay Cargo offers the Cathay Mail solution to India Post. Cathay Cargo helps India Post to convert CARDIT messages into a PAWB to create an online booking in CX-Cargospot, which is completely automated.

“During the pandemic, we collaborated with India Post to provide uninterrupted connectivity, uplifting mail bags from Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, and Kolkata. Currently, we serve around 14 destinations on our network. Our commitment to delivering exceptional service has resulted in strong growth in tonnage and revenue. Through Cathay Mail, we look forward to expanding our partnership and serve more destinations in the future,” said Rajesh Menon, Regional Head of Cargo – South Asia, Middle East & Africa.

How PAWB and EDI work

Ordinarily, airlines have little visibility of mail shipments. Mail is prepared in sealed bags at origin postal terminals and delivered to air cargo terminals for loading.

Airlines are given conveyance instructions via a CARDIT (CARrier/Documents International Transport advice) message, and in return they send a RESDIT (RESponse to Documents International Transport advice) to acknowledge receipt.

Cathay Mail uses electronic data interchange (EDI) technology to integrate this limited messaging into Cathay Cargo’s own system.

Now, when a post office customer issues a CARDIT, Cathay Cargo will issue a PAWB (postal air waybill). This gives post offices visibility of the bags in each CARDIT and, therefore, the location of individual packages in each bag on their own systems.

Ongoing updates to the devices and apps that scan mail bags have delivered increased visibility and efficiency since the programme began. Bags can now “nest” in an Unit Load Device (ULD), which simplifies the scanning process and boosts efficiency. When the ULD is scanned, it captures the check-in status of the shipment and makes handling the shipment for onward flights or delivery more straightforward.

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