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Unisys to Present at IATA World Cargo Symposium on Importance of Real-Time Data for a Truly Connected Cargo Supply Chain

SINGAPORE and BLUE BELL, Pa. – Unisys Corporation (NYSE: UIS) today announced it will present at the 13th IATA World Cargo Symposium, March 12-14 in Singapore, and discuss some of the key challenges and opportunities within the cargo and freight industry. Niranjan Navaratnarajah, cargo industry director for Unisys Asia Pacific, will join a panel within the Cargo Transformation Track to discuss the need to securely modernize today’s mostly manual and fragmented cargo distribution processes by moving away from traditional phone and paper procedures.

“The cargo industry is at a crossroads and the need to modernize has never been greater,” said Dheeraj Kohli, vice president and Global Head of Travel and Transportation, Unisys. “A critical role that digital transformation can play involves leveraging the connectivity of Internet of Things (IoT) and disruptive technology like AI and predictive analytics to shift from reactive tracking and response to a more proactive approach. It is important that airlines focus equally on digitally transforming their services as well as their technology, as having digitally-enabled workplace, cloud and end user services are critical elements of a connected supply chain that streamlines processes, reduces operating costs and improves customers’ travel experiences.” 

Unisys believes there are three changes required to create a connected cargo supply chain:

1) Use centralized datasets  – The cargo supply chain is complex with many entities involved in a delivery including booking agents, airlines, customs, freight forwarders, and road/rail transport. Each uses separate forms (often paper) and manual processes (such as phone calls) – creating out-of-date data, inaccuracies, opportunities for fraud and hindering end-to-end tracking. Buyers and sellers must move their business to online ecommerce platforms – which can be their own in-house platform or one that spans a community of forwarders, airlines, general sales agents and handlers, such as Unisys Digi-Portal. Such real-time platforms enable buyers to interact with automated real-time inventory and not rely on stored data. In addition, growth in consumer online purchases has not only increased small parcel deliveries, it has created an expectation that customers can easily track their deliveries. Real-time data, used across the supply chain, enables greater visibility and traceability of shipments. With 60.8 percent penetration of e-AWB in the cargo globally, the industry is well poised to move to centralized e-AWB based centralized datasets in the next 12-18 months. And as eight of the top 10 countries of origin for e-AWBs are in Asia, and five of the six top airports of origin are Asian, we can expect this region, the “world’s manufacturing bowl,” will lead the way. 

2) Capture real-time data by securely integrating mobility, IoT and data automation  to make updates on the spot and exchange information faster to reduce the time that cargo is left on the ground. Asian cargo markets compete against each other to be seen as easy to do business with. Yet only Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong/China rank in the top 20 of The World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index. Reducing costly shipment idle time is key. Unisys estimates that on average cargo is in the air only 15 percent of the total delivery time – for the remainder it is on the ground. The industry should aim to cut idle time to around 50 percent. In a secure connected cargo supply chain, information flows automatically and mobile devices, wearables, sensors and drones enable staff to process shipments on the spot updating data in real-time; weigh bridges automatically exchange data with systems preventing data errors and fraud; and IoT-enabled sensors on shipments proactively alert cargo systems and staff if a shipment has been left behind, in the wrong location, or is distressed. Some players are already doing this, but an industry-wide approach is needed to transform the whole supply chain. 

3) Use AI and predictive analytics for improved visibility, efficiency and security  – More accessible and accurate cargo records also assist to manage, process and track cargo, particularly sensitive items like medicine or food which must be stored at certain temperatures. Artificial intelligence powered by predictive analytics can help freight forwarders to ingest and analyze data in real-time, helping to determine if sensitive shipments require specific attention or if the shipping conditions need to be modified. Predictive analytics can also generate data to enable airlines to better plan their routes, avoid inclement weather and validate the security of shipments. This real-time visibility into shipments also assists to locate misplaced items, which can greatly impact the customer experience. Integrated with such targeting tools, the connected cargo approach would improve the clearance and tracking of shipments from loading to arrival. Finally, moving to a digital data-based cargo supply chain enables the integration of advanced security information and event management (SIEM) tools, such as the Unisys Stealth platform with automated Dynamic Isolation, to protect customer information and shipment data from being accessed or modified by unauthorized parties, preventing data theft and cargo fraud.

Unisys has more than 55 years of experience providing innovative IT solutions to the travel and transportation industry. Digistics is a holistic and integrated modular air cargo software logistics solution that allows carriers to streamline freight management and improve their operational efficiencies. The Digi-Connect module uses a common platform to collaborate with stakeholders for information exchange through open APIs. For more information on Unisys travel and transportation offerings, please click here.

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