e-Freight FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions About e-freight:

What is e-freight?

e-freight is a tool that allows for most cargo processes to be performed electronically, taking the paper out of the air cargo industry.

Facilitated by IATA, the project is an industry-wide initiative involving carriers, freight forwarders, ground handlers, shippers and customs authorities.

Each air cargo shipment carries with it as many as 30 paper documents – enough to fill 80 Boeing 747 freighters every year.

Air Canada Cargo is an active member in e-freight, participating in the IATA central action group. Our responsibility is to encourage industry engagement since participation is critical to the success of this initiative.

Details can be found at: http://www.iata.org/whatwedo/Pages/index.aspx

What are the key benefits of e-freight?

  • Lower costs: eliminates paper handling and processing costs.
  • Quicker flow of information: the documentation process is shortened by an average of 24 hours. With high quality EDI messaging, customs authorities can accept and clear your freight more expediently- no waiting for documents.
  • Greater reliability and accuracy due to one-time electronic data entry at the point of origin. 
  • Better visibility: Electronic documentation enables online tracking and tracing. Electronic documents are less likely to be misplaced, so shipments will not be delayed due to missing paperwork.

What handling codes are used to identify e-freight shipments?

IATA has designated special handling codes to identify e-freight shipments:

  • EAW is for e-freight shipments when there are no accompanying documents (other than the master air waybill).
  • EAP is for e-freight shipments with accompanying documents (destination authorities may require original documents to be sent along with the shipment).

What components are needed for e-freight to function in the supply chain?

  • An electronic customs environment
  • Electronic communication between the forwarder, the airline and ground handler
  • Electronic communication between forwarder at origin and forwarder/consignee at destination

If paper documents do not accompany the shipment, how does the information flow to customs and governmental authorities?

The e-document standard for e-freight is dependent on document type. Documentation can be sent using either electronic data exchange (EDI), using Cargo IMP or XML messaging or by scanning documents and emailing to destination.

e-freight uses the existing air cargo industry messaging infrastructure. Participants will need to acquire the technological capabilities to connect to their partners or use 3rd party providers (such as web portals).

How do customers who do not have the required technology participate in e-freight?

As long as they are able to send an electronic master air waybill (FWB) and house waybill (FHL), small and medium-sized forwarders and shippers can scan and forward many documents electronically.

What are the core e-freight documents?

  • Trade documents (Invoice, Packing List) can be sent from origin shippers and forwarders using IATA standard EDI messaging to the destination forwarder or consignee or can be scanned and sent as a PDF document.
  • Transport documents must be sent using IATA Cargo IMP or XML electronic messages (FWB, FHL) (Air Waybill, House Waybill) or may be sent via Cargo Portal Services.
  • Customs documents: e-freight is only implemented in locations where import and export declarations and release programs are in place, and customs agree that original paper documents are not required.  These documents can be scanned and forwarded electronically (Export Goods Declaration, Export Cargo Declaration, Export Release, Import Goods Declaration, Import Cargo Declaration & Import Release).

How will I know which stations accept e-freight shipments?

Stations that can support e-freight (called live) are listed on our website. The list is updated as new stations become live.

What is the difference between e-freight and e-AWB?

E-freight removes the requirement for paper pouch documents that travel with the shipment, whereas, e-AWB removes the requirement for a paper master air waybill.

What are the key benefits of e-AWB?

  • Reduction in paper processing and printing costs
  • Real-time access to AWB information
  • Reduced handling and archiving of paper documents
  • Greater efficiency

Is an e-AWB required for an e-freight transaction?

No there are many options, e-freight alone, e-AWB alone, or both e-AWB and e-freight.

Can the e-AWB be used everywhere?

Stations that can support e-freight & e-AWB (called live) are listed on our website. The list is updated as new stations become live.

How will I know which stations accept e-AWBs?

The Air Canada Cargo website will be updated once a new station is live for e-AWB.

Can all customers use e-AWBs?

Forwarders will need to sign an EDI agreement with the airline to cover the terms of the contract of carriage prior to sending e-AWBs.

Where can I get a copy of the EDI agreement to sign?

Contact us at e-freight@aircanada.ca.

How do customers who do not have the required technology participate in e-AWB?

Cargo Portal Service (CPS) .

Who can I contact at Air Canada Cargo if I have more questions?

Where can I find more information about e-freight?