Cathay Pacific Cargo has achieved another milestone in its industry-leading digitalization of cargo processes. It has become the first carrier to share IoT (internet of things) and track-and-trace data via an API (application programming interface) with a customer’s own system, while conforming to IATA’s ONE Record standard and its Interactive Cargo data model.
Using IATA ONE Record API (API) developed by Global Logistic Systems (GLSHK), Dimerco Air Forwarders (HK) Ltd was able to access and monitor data from Cathay Pacific Cargo’s Ultra Track service, which uses IoT technology to transmit shipment information such as GPS location and temperature in near-real-time. As well as the usual ONE Record shipment milestones, the API was also able to report additional statuses specific to special cargo, such as temperature, humidity, shock and light conditions.
Dimerco’s shipments of semi-conductor thermal paste between Singapore and Cebu via Hong Kong also proved the effectiveness of the IATA ONE Record Interactive Cargo standard. Cathay Pacific Cargo has taken a leading role in a number of ONE Record trials to prove the standard’s effectiveness and ease of implementation.
Clera Lam, Head of Cargo Digital, Cathay Pacific says that this latest development is a new and exciting step in making the supply chain more transparent to stakeholders. ‘According to IATA, this is the first time a cargo agent and an airline have used an API to the IATA ONE Record Interactive Cargo standard to receive IoT data – in this instance from Ultra Track – as well as the traditional shipment track-and-trace status from us in an operational shipment rather than a trial,’ she said.
The shipments have also proved that the API approach is more straightforward than trying to integrate different stakeholder systems along the supply chain. ‘Although this technology is new, APIs can connect platforms and they are a lot more straightforward than re-engineering system interfaces,’ added Lam.
As the demand for greater supply chain visibility intensifies, these connections between disparate platforms using APIs will grow, and ONE Record will provide the standardisation to enable effective data integration and sharing across the airfreight industry.
‘Supply chain visibility is of primary importance to the shipper,’ said Henk Mulder Head, Digital Cargo of IATA. ‘The future of transport and logistics is fully digitalised and data-centric. With Ultra Track, Cathay Pacific Cargo and its partners are already delivering on that promise, using the power of IATA’s data-sharing standard ONE Record for full supply chain visibility and transparency.’
The flights were not just a first for an airline, but also for the forwarder. ‘We are proud of this recognition since we know IATA ONE Record is a data-centric model able to provide better visibility and greater transparency. It will improve data quality and, of course, eliminate duplication,’ said Eddie Law, General Manager at Dimerco Air Forwarders (HK) Ltd.
Dimerco used an API based on the IATA ONE Record standard, with support from the team at GLSHK: a close partner of Cathay Pacific Cargo and which is assisting with its digitalisation projects, including the new online booking platform Click & Ship.
GLSHK also markets its services to the wider air-freight industry. ‘We are an IATA strategic partner, and have been participating in enriching the ONE Record standard,’ said Simon Ng, CEO of GLS Hong Kong. ‘We used to have an API for integration of standard shipment status. The API in ONE Record standard extends the status updates for required attributes for special cargo, such as temperature and humidity. We are probably the world’s first air-freight technology service provider to implement track-and-trace in the ONE Record standard.’
As part of its work, GLSHK has developed a ‘sandbox’ testing environment for APIs for use with ONE Record. ‘In this case, the sandbox was filled with sample data – plus a technical specification to enable any forwarders who are interested in subscribing to the service to trial it, as well as their own IT capabilities in the ultimate integration,’ said Ng. ‘The beauty of this API is that it’s relatively simple technology that can be easily adopted.’
Dimerco was provided with the sandbox to trial, with support from GLSHK in various testing rounds before the actual shipments. ‘There are many benefits to the API,’ says Law. ‘Most important is the ability to have it up and running very quickly, with industry-standard system securities in place.’
API integration represents a straightforward way of opening up the shipment journey to all stakeholders – without the complication of clashing systems. ‘No-one would want to go back to the old days and use the traditional way of interfaces,’ says Cathay Pacific Cargo’s Clera Lam. ‘That’s just so complicated.’
Customer voice: Eddie Law, General Manager Dimerco Air Forwarders (HK) Ltd
What are your thoughts on being the first agent to use an IATA ONE Record API for Interactive Cargo?
We are proud of this recognition as we know IATA ONE Record is a data-centric model that can provide better visibility and transparency, improve data quality and, of course, eliminate duplication. These objectives mimic those of Dimerco’s own cloud-based technology platform, the Dimerco Value Plus System®. We are always ready to lead the way in digital logistics.
Why did Dimerco decide to implement an API for IATA ONE Record Interactive Cargo/Ultra Track?
As a ‘Mobile Intelligence Logistics Service Provider’, we strive to introduce or implement solutions that not only benefit the Dimerco Express Group, but also our customers and partners. This API implementation has provided us with just that, and has given us the opportunity to collaborate with IATA ONE Record Interactive Cargo/Ultra Track. Most importantly, it means we can provide specific solutions to our customers using technology.
What are the benefits of using an API?
There are many benefits. The important one is that you can have it up and running very quickly but with industry-standard system securities in place. This allows us to integrate it with Dimerco’s own cloud-based technology platform, Dimerco Value Plus System®, and provide our end-users the ability to access Cathay Pacific’s Ultra Track data from our system, thus eliminating duplication work. It also gives us the flexibility to use data and enable preemptive forecasting using technologies like machine learning, AI, and even robotic process automation.
What support did you receive from Cathay Pacific Cargo and GLS Hong Kong?
We had full support from Cathay Pacific and GLSHK. Their professional teams stayed in close communication and monitored the IATA ONE Record implementation every step of the way. This allowed us to beat our ‘go-live’ target date – very impressive.
What are your impressions of Ultra Track and what shipments are you using it for?
Cathay Pacific Cargo’s Ultra Track is awesome. It’s helped improve shipment visibility and communication through real-time data availability on the Ezycargo platform with 24-hour live chat and 24/7 proactive support. These capabilities are particularly important for temperature-sensitive and high-value cargos. It makes geolocation tracking and temperature monitoring possible at any time.