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E-freight is an industry-wide initiative involving carriers, freight forwarders, ground handlers, shippers, customs brokers and customs authorities. E-freight aims to build an end-to-end paperless transportation process for air cargo through a regulatory framework, electronic messages and high data quality.

The e-freight roadmap outlines a shared end-to-end industry approach to remove three types of documents:

  • Customs documents, engaging regulators and governments worldwide to create an "e-freight route network" where customs procedures are fully electronic and regulations support paperless shipments.
  • Transport documents, working collaboratively within the cargo supply chain to digitize the core industry transport documents, starting with the Air Waybill (AWB).
  • Commercial & special cargo documents, developing a plan to digitize the commercial and special cargo documents typically accompanying air freight today, in or out of the "cargo pouch".

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The Air Waybill (AWB) is a critical air cargo document that constitutes the contract of carriage between the “shipper” and the “carrier” (airline). The Electronic Air Waybill Resolution 672 (MeA) removes the requirement for a paper AWB. There is therefore no longer a need to print, handle or archive the paper, largely simplifying the air cargo process.

e-AWB is now the default contract of carriage

Nine years after its introduction in 2010, e-AWB became the default contract of carriage for all air cargo shipments on enabled trade lanes on 1 January 2019. This key industry milestone brings air cargo into a new era where digital processes are now the norm and paper is the exception.

Interested in starting your e-AWB roll out?

e-AWB performance and results


Modernizing air cargo communication

The IATA Cargo-XML messaging is emerging as a preferred standard for the electronic communication between airlines and other air cargo stakeholders such as shippers, freight forwarders, ground-handling agents, and regulators, as well as customs and security agencies. This new standard is based on multimodal and cross-border messaging and aims to:

The white paper Air Cargo Digital Connectivity & Data Exchange Methodologies (pdf) provides a guide for the air cargo industry towards efficiently connecting and exchanging digital information across the supply chain.

Cargo XML - the preferred messaging standard

Cargo-XML AutoCheck Tool

IATA is committed to fostering industry adoption of Cargo-XML standards. For this purpose, air cargo industry stakeholders, those implementing the Cargo-XML standards will be able to validate their Cargo-XML messages using IATA's Cargo-XML AutoCheck tool, for free.

Automated validation

This automated solution will allow industry stakeholders to validate their Cargo-XML messages through a portal service without involving a partner. The ultimate goal is to facilitate the Cargo-XML rollout and allow the industry to validate messages syntax and eventually business rules.

If you are an airline, freight forwarder, ground handler or an IT service provider, and are moving towards Cargo-XML as your messaging standard, Cargo-XML AutoCheck will be an invaluable tool during both your development and once you've gone live.

Cargo Messaging Working Group

The IATA Cargo Messaging Working Group (formerly known as the Cargo-XML Task Force) develops the Cargo-XML messages and standards by reusing the components from the United Nations Center for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business core component library. The Cargo-XML Manual and Toolkit publishes the Cargo-XML messages, in accordance with the Cargo Services Conference (CSC) Resolution 670 and Recommended Practice 1675.

Towards 100% data quality

The Message Improvement Program (MIP) started in 2007 as part of an e-freight initiative to track the performance of EDI messaging between freight forwarders and airlines. This program is opt-in based and free-of-charge, currently open to airlines and freight forwarders only.

Today, there are over 70 participants, of which some of the leading airlines and forwarders worldwide. MIP processes about 2 million records of data every month from airlines only, producing over 1000 different confidential reports for its participants, as well as an industry reports of which the monthly e-freight and e-AWB reports.


The current scope is to measure the performance of the electronic message equivalents to the Air Waybills and House Waybills (respectively the FWB and FHL for Cargo-IMP, and XFWB and XFHL/XFZB for Cargo-XML), where the following are being measured:

  1. Message penetration
  2. Message rejections
  3. Message duplications
  4. Syntax errors
  5. Business data quality/errors on every single field of data (200+)
  6. Process errors

MIP 2.0

To support the broader adoption of e-cargo and IATA’s new ONE Record initiative, IATA is working on an extended version of MIP that will:

  • Open up to ground handlers, Cargo Community Systems (CCS), solutions providers and other stakeholders.
  • Cover additional critical electronic messages like status, error and feedback messages.
  • Collect more details on shipment data to further increase MIP’s value.
  • Collect shipment data from all participants, allowing data congruence analysis and troubleshooting between peers.
  • Provide new, revamped reports and intelligence focusing on today’s and tomorrow’s critical metrics.
  • Allow self-service reporting.

How to join?

To join MIP, write to with your company name and contact details.

Electronic Dangerous Goods Shipper's Declaration (e-DGD)

The e-DGD is an electronic approach to manage the IATA Dangerous Goods Shipper's Declaration (DGD) leveraging industry initiatives to digitalize data. Data is made available on the data sharing platform by the data owner and is accessible to whoever requires it depending on the roles and responsibilities in the supply chain. The data-sharing platform principle allows for a close collaboration between all stakeholders, including shippers, forwarders, carriers, ground handling agents and third party providers.


Find out more about the Electronic Dangerous Goods Shipper's Declaration (e-DGD)

The Multilateral e-AWB Agreement, IATA Resolution 672 (pdf), provides a single standard agreement that airlines and freight forwarders can sign once with IATA and start doing e-AWB with all other parties to the agreement.

This is NOT an IATA code. If you would like to register for an IATA Code, please visit the Cargo Agency program

How to join?

  1. Complete and submit the Online Joining Form
  2. Receive your agreement for e-signature
  3. Review and e-sign the agreement


To update the list of airports and/or change your designated contact complete the Airline Submission Form (doc) and send it to IATA (same address as for joining).

  1. Download the Airline Submission Form (doc)
  2. Enter the required information in the Airline Submission Form (under signatory details, leave the signature and date fields blank)
  3. Send the completed Airline Submission Form to
  4. Once completed, IATA will register airline and airports, and publish the information online
  • Check which freight forwarders joined the agreement and select your partners to roll out e-AWB
  • Contact your freight forwarder partners to discuss where and when to start e-AWB
  • Ensure that both of you are operationally ready to start e-AWB (business processes, electronic communication, data quality, etc) at the agreed locations
  • Send the Activation Notice (doc) to your freight forwarder partners confirming locations and start dates

In accordance with Article 3.1 of the multilateral e-AWB agreement (Resolution 672), freight forwarder shall only commence tendering cargo shipments to a participating airline after receiving an Activation Notice from the airline.


  • You should start doing e-AWB at a location only after sending the Activation Notice to freight forwarder for that location
  • The multilateral e-AWB agreement comes into force between an airline and a freight forwarder at a location only upon airline sending an Activation Notice to freight forwarder (pursuant to Resolution 672, Attachment A, Article 3.1).


For purposes of the multilateral e-AWB agreement (IATA Resolution 672), an affiliate is defined as any company whom the freight forwarder is authorized to enter into the agreement on their behalf, and to bind them to the obligations set forth therein. It could be branch offices located in the same country, and also associated companies in other countries.

After joining the IATA Multilateral e-AWB Agreement, freight forwarders can add new affiliate offices, remove currently registered offices, as well as update company name and address details. IATA now offers an automated self-service tool using online forms and integrated e-sign process.

For more information, see new online tool quick reference guide (pdf)

Designated contact

The designated contact is your company's representative(s) to be contacted by airlines and IATA for matters related to multilateral e-AWB agreement (Resolution 672), including receipt of Notices pursuant to Article 3.1 of the agreement.

After joining the IATA Multilateral e-AWB Agreement, freight forwarders can add new deisganted contacts as well as change currently registered designated contacts. IATA now offers an automated self-service tool using online forms and integrated e-sign process.

For more information, see new online tool quick reference guide (pdf)

More Information:

Industry Associations supporting the Multilateral e-AWB Agreement

These industry associations (pdf) from across the world have confirmed their support for the multilateral e-AWB agreement (pdf).

Connecting e-Cargo partners

The e-Cargo Matchmaker is a free web-based tool offering e-freight and e-AWB stakeholders easier and more flexible access to the list of live airports, locations, airlines, freight forwarders and ground handling agents.

For more information, download the e-Cargo Matchmaker User Guide (pdf).

Objectives and benefits

  • Increases visibility: at a click of a mouse all e-freight and e-AWB participants have access to information on live locations, airports, airlines, freight forwarders and ground handling agents
  • Increases timeliness of information: data is available to all as soon as it is entered by stakeholders
  • Increases data accuracy and time savings: users can instantly retrieve customized reports with an increased level of data accuracy as the tool is updated by the industry for the industry
  • Puts power in your own hands: e-freight and e-AWB participants maintain their data and populate their implementation plans directly in the live system
  • Connects you with your partners: encourages e-Cargo industry stakeholders to connect with each other via the incorporated messaging system for the purpose of jointly implementing e-freight and/or e-AWB

Who can use it?

  • Public users (no registration needed): all cargo industry stakeholders can access and use existing information on live e-freight and e-AWB locations, airports, airlines, freight forwarders and ground handling agents  Access to Matchmaker for public users
  • Registered users (registration needed): airlines, freight forwarders and ground handling agents are given the means and full control to inform their business partners about their current status and future plans for e-freight and e-AWB implementation  Access to Matchmaker for registered users