(Advance Information System)


AIS (Advance Information System) is a new module from CCS-UK User Group that is transforming the process of delivering air cargo to Heathrow Airport, and steadily gaining traction within the industry. It is also being extended to other UK airports.

Well-documented peak-time delays at Heathrow’s outdated cargo terminal have been a fact of life going back many years. Lack of on-airport truck parking, narrow approach roads and tight manoeuvring space for today’s larger articulated vehicles frequently lead to long truck queues backing up onto the airport’s perimeter road, and trucks and drivers tied up unnecessarily for hours.

AIS enables freight agents, and transport companies working on their behalf, to pre-alert handling agents of loads being delivered and picked up (down to House AWB level), as well as submit Electronic Consignment Security Declarations (e-CSD). This advance information – including vehicle, driver, cargo being delivered, handling agent and ETA – is submitted either through a web portal, or via messages sent from the forwarder’s own system. The data is then accessible to all relevant parties in the supply chain.

Receiving this information electronically in advance means handlers can pre-populate their systems with the shipment information, so reducing paperwork and delays on arrival of the truck, and eradicating re-keying errors. They can also better anticipate workloads, schedule resources, and (now) allocate handling slots for trucks. This is helping to reduce the total number of vehicles on the cargo terminal at any one time, cutting peak queuing times. For agents, AIS includes handling agent performance monitoring and reporting.

Using AIS, freight forwarders and their transport providers can also now pre-book timed vehicle slots at handling facilities that use the AIS module. The new Slot Booking function can run alongside the handler’s existing un-booked arrivals, allowing transit sheds to offer pre-booking and priority handling to selected agents and transport companies. The system caters for deliveries and collections, or a mix of both on the same vehicle, and applies to loose or palletised cargo.

Once a slot has been booked, the booking party is prompted to submit an electronic manifest ahead of the vehicle’s actual arrival. Handlers can set up slots in advance, with separate schedules for each of their sheds if required. Handlers can view who has booked each slot, and reports show data such as punctuality and no-shows, enabling handlers to determine whether priority booking privileges should be withdrawn in the event of habitual non-compliance with slot bookings.

AIS is in active use today, and is helping to streamline collections and deliveries for a growing number of forwarders, airfreight hauliers and handling agents.

The latest AIS module is free of charge for all CCS-UK subscribers. It can be used as a standalone module or be integrated into your own system. Please contact CCS-UK User Group for more information.