The roll-out of the e-freight initiative came one month earlier than originally planned, with the freight item on board Lufthansa Passage’s flight LH712 leaving Frankfurt heading for the South Korean capital of Seoul.
Lufthansa Cargo’s executive chair Carsten Spohr said the airfreight industry needed to join the move towards paperless freight transport, as it would bring economic and environmental benefits.
“With paperless freight transport, together with our customers, we move the industry forward, because e-freight not only improves the data quality, but above all, also increases efficiency and, in addition, saves the environment,“ Mr Spohr said.
DB Schenker chairman Nobert Bensel said international businesses were increasingly adopting the e-freight program to gain a competitive edge.
“In the Netherlands, Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Australia and in the United Kingdom DB Schenker has already successfully introduced paperless airfreight handling,” Mr Bensel said.
After the successful maiden flight, which was prepared in close cooperation with the German authorities and customs, the use of e-freight is planned to be gradually expanded on the route between Germany and Korea.
Lufthansa Cargo also aims to extend e-freight to further German stations and markets in Asia like Singapore and Hong Kong in the coming months.
The freight subsidiary of German Lufthansa has worked on the introduction of e-freight during the last months as the lead carrier and project coordinator of the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) e-freight project for Germany.
The IATA initiated the e-freight project in 2004 to modernise and simplify the operational process of the airfreight industry.
In Australia, Qantas Freight launched its e-freight program in July, with the rollout to be completed by 2010. The company began a multi-million dollar project to replace its IT systems to enhance the accuracy of data capture and handle demands for greater data sharing.
“We are looking forward to when paper airway bills and other documentation currently required in multiple copies can be replaced with a single electronic message that can be used throughout the life of the shipment,“ said Qantas Freight executive general manager Grant Fenn.
Each year freight documents produced worldwide would fill 39 Boeing 747-400 freighters.