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With space to grow, the Dubai-based airline says IT is the key to catching cargo in its Web
Ask almost any top manager in the air cargo industry for a list of business priorities and you will almost certainly get enthusiastic statements about the importance of an information technology system that integrates the entire transportation chain. It is accepted wisdom in the cargo industry that IT, as much as planes and trucks, is behind the success of the integrated express carriers.
That is why the chiefs of most multinational forwarders either boast about their IT prowess or talk about their plans to integrate their disparate information systems. Yet the commercial airlines have generally said far more than they have actually done about IT integration, at least on the cargo side of their business.
It is all the more surprising, then, that Emirates, the middle-sized, Middle Eastern airline, is investing heavily in an IT system aimed at integrating the airline more completely in global supply chains. Called SkyChain, the Internet-based system is aimed at strengthening the electronic service Emirates extends to forwarders and shippers.
The system will provide, says Emirates' senior general manager of cargo, Ram Menen, "an information pipeline, a constant stream of information that everyone in the chain will be able to add to or dip into to get the information they need."
That doesn't just mean information relevant to the airborne part of the transaction: SkyChain aims to serves the procurement cycle rather than merely the transportation cycle. It is a system through which anyone in the chain - from shipper through …