With the boom in e-commerce, air cargo security is gaining importance

With the Boom in E-Commerce, Air Cargo Security Grows in Importance

The air cargo industry delivered 58 million tonnes of goods in 2023, representing 35% of the value of goods traded globally. Industry representatives once again focused on the issue of security at the World Cargo Symposium (WCS) hosted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in Hong Kong in February 2024. Brendan Sullivan , head of cargo at IATA, stressed that security is crucial to the success of air cargo.

Safety and innovation at the heart of air freight

The IATA World Cargo Symposium (WCS) highlighted challenges and innovations in the air cargo sector, including security, digitalization and sustainability. The safe management of dangerous goods, in particular lithium batteries, has been identified as a top priority to ensure safety in the air transport of goods.

Advances in lithium battery safety

Four major advances have been noted regarding the safe transportation of lithium batteries: the imminent approval of a testing standard for fire-resistant shipping containers, the collaboration of more than 90 airlines to share data on dangerous goods incidents through the IATA Global Aviation Data Management (GADM) program, the publication of guidance to help operators recognize and mitigate the risks posed by inexperienced e-commerce shippers using the postal system, and an update of Annex 18 of the Chicago Convention clarifying responsibilities in the handling of dangerous goods.

The rise of e-commerce and its impact on air freight

E-commerce now accounts for 20% of total air cargo volume, with a projection to increase to 30% by 2027. This growth is supported by more than 2,6 billion online shoppers in 2023, highlighting the priority given to speed of delivery.

Strengthening security in air cargo

Initiatives such as the Pre-Loading Advance Cargo Information (PLACI) program have been developed to enhance air cargo security. These preventive measures require the provision of shipping data to regulatory authorities for a thorough risk assessment before loading cargoes, thereby ensuring that no cargo is transported without the authorization of the regulatory authority.

Focus on safety culture and reporting

Etihad Cargo and Cathay Cargo have highlighted the importance of a proactive safety culture, including regular training and awareness initiatives for all employees. These efforts are intended to encourage the reporting of security incidents and maintain high security standards across all operations.

The Future of Air Cargo Security

The growing use of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and automation promises to further improve security in air cargo. These technologies enable more effective risk assessment and adaptation of control systems to handle larger volumes without compromising safety standards.


With the Boom in E-Commerce, Air Cargo Security Grows in Importance

Virginie Majaux

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