Air Transport World

International forum for air cargo decides more automation needed.

Singapore--The urgent need for greater automation was a dominant feature of the discussions at the 12th International Forum for Air Cargo held in Singapore this spring. Pointing out that while computers are certainly a fact of life in the cargo industry today--and have been for many years--Peter Cleave, senior director-Traffic Services of IATA, asserted that real automation is only just starting. Calling for the use of development funds for information systems rather than for "chasing elusive new aircraft designs," he stressed that automation helps to move cargo faster and reduces costs.

The development costs of automated cargo systems are relatively small when compared with investments in runways or aprons, D.R.A. Stapel, managing director of Amsterdam Airport-Schiphol, told the Singapore meeting. The development and start-up costs for the fully-integrated air cargo automation system at Amsterdam, paid for by the Airport Authority, will run between $1.3 and $1.7 million over three to four years. Known as Cargonaut, the Dutch system will link the KLM system, the customs system and the systems of warehouse-management, other airlines and forwarders. …

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