Digitization is necessary, but it must be collaborative and have a clear direction. At least, this is the main need of the air freight sector in Italy, according to the speakers invited to the "Companies and Air Cargo" panel of the Shipping, Forwarding & Logistics Meet Industry conference.
Industry conference. The managing director of Cargo Start, Emanuele Vurchio, first mentioned the magic formula. Cargo Start is a company that provides digital solutions for the sector and was recently acquired by Circle. Vurchio explained that the limits of past experiences with "linear" digital platforms involved data entry by shippers and then passing it on to the rest of the chain. This model, based on proprietary software, has proven to be difficult to integrate and unable to produce reliable real-time data sharing. Vurchio suggests that the solution lies in the use of collaborative platforms that allow exchanges between the various players in the supply chain (freight forwarders, handlers, air carriers, shippers, and airports) with shared standards that lead to greater operational efficiency.
Vurchio also highlighted the need for a clear direction, and indicated that ports of call are the subjects who must take responsibility for providing adequate support, particularly for medium-small shipping companies. He proposed the Italian banking system as a model, with transversal support centers that allow every business to operate, regardless of its size.
A significant portion of the session was dedicated to the digital platform of Malpensa, the main port of call for Italian cargo. The experience of Malpensa is still in the start-up phase, but according to various participants in the debate, it will provide a blueprint for smaller operations. Paolo Dallanoce, head of the division dedicated to Sea's cargo activities, provided an overview of the cargo community system at the Milanese airport, which includes several apps developed through the European Fenix project. These apps include Smart Trucks, Smart Unload, Smart Clearance, and Smart Corridor.
The urgency of a digital platform shared and actually used by operators for the management of shipments at Malpensa was also underlined by Alessandro Albertini. He commented on the failure encountered by the project over the years, saying, "We leveraged the greater operational efficiency that would have guaranteed, but we were wrong. We should have talked about the economic benefits." The president of Anama also suggested the possibility of receiving resources from the Pnrr to support the digitization of shipping operations, including incentives for operators.