West Blue partners IATA to implement Cargo XML for Airlines

West Blue Consulting, the technical partners of the Ghana National Single Window (GNSW) project is working feverishly with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to ensure that aircraft start using an electronic format called Cargo XML to submit their cargo data to customs before landing at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), Accra.

The Cargo XML which is expected to replace the existing Cargo IMP will be implemented on 28th May 2017, Aminu Uthman Oluwatoni, Manager Project Delivery at the West Blue Consulting  announced at IATA Day 2017 held in Accra.

He explained that as part of work of the implementation of the Cargo XML, notification including User Guide from Customs Division of Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) took effect on 19th April 2017.

Mr. Oluwatoni added that the pilot commencement of the Cargo XML service would start on the 28th April 2017, and would be enforced on the 28th June, this year.

Cargo-XML Recommendation Paper has recommended to airlines to use standard IATA Cargo-XML to exchange electronic information along the air freight supply chain as the alternative to the current IATA Standard Cargo-IMP.

In Ghana, West Blue Consulting is deploying the Cargo XML standard as part of the GNSW Electronic Air Manifest System to modernize the old Cargo IMP messages by leveraging new technology for maximum benefits, according to him.

Mr. Oluwatoni used the opportunity to enumerate some of the benefits of the Cargo XMl. These he mentioned include: the reduction of cost development, transmission, maintenance and support; promote use of a common, universally accepted standard within the supply chain; and compatible with the standards of other industry bodies, such as the World Customs Organization (WCO).

Also, the Cargo XML according to him facilitates implementation of electronic air waybill (e-AWB), e-Freight and Advance Cargo Information (ACI); enables greater participation of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in e-commerce throughout the logistics chain;  provides business rules to improve efficiency and compliance with regulations, such as ACI; improves data quality and allows for a quicker response to frequently changing requirements; and facilitates direct exchange of data by providing easy implementation between partners.

The IATA Day 2017 which brought together members of IATA, stakeholders in the aviation industry, policy-makers under one roof to discuss the opportunities, challenges, among others was sponsored by West Blue.

Recently, the Chief Executive Officer of West Blue Consulting, Madam Valentina Mintah revealed that 25 airlines electronically submit their manifests to the Pre-Arrival Assessment Reporting System (PAARS) up to four hours before landing at the Kotoka International Airport, Accra.

Previously, they were submitted in hard copies to ground handlers, after the arrival of the airlines at the airport.

The PAARS is a modernized system that has been developed by the Customs Division of GRA as part of the implementation of the GNSW project to enhance revenue mobilization, improve border security and customs clearance, overcome duplication across regulatory agencies and promote trade facilitation.

Madam Mintah explained to Members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Trade, Industry and Tourism  during a working visit to the company that; “customs and other agencies can get access to data in a timely manner to complete clearance processes even before the ship or plane arrives”.

This she would reduce the time and cost of doing business and aiding risk management and effective revenue collection for the country.

Since the introduction of the GNSW’s PAARS last year, traders are able to access Customs Classification and Valuation Report (CCVR) within 48 hours, she revealed.

In some cases, within an hour that is substantial improvement from the previous situation whereby it used to take traders more than a week or two weeks just to get their CCVR.

Madam Mintah was quick to add the system has brought some efficiency at the ports, reduced time, reduced corruption, and cost of doing business.