Satu Dahl talks to Lionel van der Walt, president and CEO of the Americas at PayCargo, about digitalisation and how air freight operators can use it to remain competitive in a post-pandemic environment

    What latest news can you share from PayCargo?

    PayCargo has had a busy year so far, working with our global partners across the air cargo industry to help expedite the seamless movement of cargo. Earlier this month, through our integration with the Unisys air cargo management software, we partnered with Delta Cargo to offer their customers the option of using our contactless PayCargo online payment platform to ship their goods and secure same-day release of their cargo.

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    Additionally, in June, we formed a partnership with IBS software that enables rich, Application Programming Interface (API)-based integration and is part of our continued focus on open collaboration. PayCargo’s digital payments network has been integrated with IBS Software’s iCargo air cargo management platform, and enables more carriers and ground-handling companies to digitalise and simplify payments, thereby reducing manual processes and streamlining operations.

    Another major move was made in April, when we launched a dedicated Canadian dollar online freight payment platform in Canada, providing our Canadian payer clients the flexibility to pay in either Canadian or US dollars for the first time.

    The Canada launch is part of ongoing growth and development plans; it was fast-tracked to help customers across the supply chain overcome payment challenges related to the Covid-19 outbreak.

    How well is the industry adopting online payment processes?

    Digital transformation is accelerating across the air cargo industry and PayCargo’s digital payment platform is
    in high demand and playing an important role in the drive to modernise the global supply chain.

    More and more companies are seeing the benefits of using online payment platforms to help cut costs, drive efficiency and make the payment process more transparent. Online payments have become particularly critical during this time as the global supply chain has adjusted to the pandemic. Companies have found themselves being forced to rapidly accommodate new practices such as homeworking and social distancing, which have become standard policy.

    The pandemic has also highlighted the value of digital payments compared to using outdated methods such as cash, cheques, vouchers and traditional POS terminals that involve physical contact.

    How important is utilising real-time information for the cargo industry?

    One of the most significant developments that has taken place in air cargo in recent years has been the increased demand for visibility and end-to-end transparency throughout the supply chain, so that shippers can effectively predict potential problems and proactively address them.

    Improved visibility isn’t just an advantage for customers; greater operational transparency, when combined with real-time analytics, enables the air cargo industry to manage delays and disruptions in the supply chain. By utilising real-time information, businesses make stronger and more informed decisions that drive operational efficiency.

    Today’s shippers want more transparency on the status of their cargo, faster service, more accurate pricing, plus access to modern payment services that facilitate the expeditious release of shipments.

    What advice would you give to cargo operators on how to remain competitive?

    Investments in tools and technology to further digitise operations will be key to remaining competitive as our industry moves forward, enabling stakeholders to operate more efficiently and ensuring the seamless flow of cargo through the supply chain.

    Air cargo operators need to embrace digitisation in order to succeed in the future. Technologies such as PayCargo’s online payment platform can provide companies with numerous benefits to reduce costs and improve efficiencies.

    Further industry collaboration is also key for the supply chain, as highlighted by the Covid-19 pandemic, where many of our partners have been working together more than ever before to secure a sustainable future for all within the industry.

    What do you see as the latest exciting innovations for the sector?

    There are many exciting innovations in the air cargo industry, notably the digital products that are on offer; these will be crucial as we move forward and emerge from the pandemic. The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) across the industry will be a game-changer and fits into the drive to digitise our industry to make it more transparent and efficient.

    Other blockchain-based innovations to help bring digital players together – such as shipping and insurance companies – to create ecosystems will also play a big part in the future of the industry. The use of APIs is also expected to lead to the creation of new products and services for customers within that ecosystem.

    Anticipatory Logistics, which uses AI and is powered by big data predictive algorithms, is another interesting concept. This takes predictive analytics a step further and has the potential to make the supply chain faster, more flexible and robust.

    It will give the industry the power to predict the future and enables logistics providers to stay ahead of the present, boosting efficiency and service quality. Open collaboration across the value chain, trust and the seamless flow of data are going to be essential for all of the above in order to ensure a sustainable future for the industry.

    How is PayCargo involved with air cargo community systems?

    PayCargo is a key facilitator for digital adoption and development of air cargo communities, since a robust, fast and trusted digital online payment solution benefits everybody within the supply chain. In January, PayCargo collaborated with Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport and IT business Kale Logistics Solutions to set up the first air cargo community system in the US.

    We are leading the way on the payment side and it is a natural progression for us to partner with companies in air cargo communities. More of these communities are in the pipeline across the US and PayCargo is set to play an integral role in their development.

    How has Covid-19 impacted PayCargo?

    PayCargo has seen an increase in demand for companies wanting to use our digital payment platform since the Covid-19 pandemic started in the middle of March. Due to the global social distancing policy, and with more people working from home and avoiding activities that involve physical contact, demand has increased for our contactless online freight payment services.

    Digital solutions like PayCargo’s are having a positive impact across the freight and shipping supply chain and
    are key to ensuring a positive future for the industry.