Lufthansa Cargo and Kuehne+Nagel pioneer paperless freight transportation with an all-digital shipment flow

Published: Monday, July 31, 2023

Frankfurt, Germany—Moving jointly forward in the field of digitalization and sustainability in air freight, Lufthansa Cargo and Kuehne+Nagel have introduced “paperless corridors” between Europe and Asia.

The first “paperless lane” between Germany and Hong Kong has successfully been established and piloted with 100 percent paperless general cargo shipments.

This means not only the electronic air waybill, but additionally also targets accompanying documents and paper pouches. In the next phase more lanes will be targeted. By increasing the number of paperless lanes, a whole paperless corridor between Europe and Asia will be built for general cargo where the transport of paper could be eliminated.

In an era driven by digital transformation and environmental consciousness, the need to reduce paper usage and streamline operations has become increasingly paramount. The companies said the benefits of paperless lanes extend beyond operational efficiency as their collaboration will also make substantial contributions to sustainability efforts within the air freight industry.

Dr. Jan-Wilhelm Breithaupt, Vice President Global Fulfillment Management, Lufthansa Cargo, commented: “We see great opportunities in this initiative as it supports all participants in pushing their handling efficiencies as well as increasing data availability and transparency throughout their network. The transition to a paperless environment will significantly reduce processing times plus complexity and offers just in time shipment status information. However, it will only be a first step towards a fully digitalized air freight future; especially accompanying documentation of special cargo will come into our focus soon enough.”

Lufthansa Cargo’s long-standing customer Kuehne+Nagel is very pleased by the achievement of 100 percent paperless freight and has set a clear goal to further expand the paperless footprint according to Kolja Mahler-Wingen, Vice President Air Logistics Operations Germany, Kuehne+Nagel.

“In addition to the positive effect of paperless handling, which primarily saves time and gains efficiency, a purely digitally supported process also offers further potential for automation in order to reach the best possible transparency and data quality for our customers around the globe. We as Kuehne+Nagel are highly committed to further expanding our digital ambitions on the way to a fully digitized air freight process,” said Mahler-Wingen.

Both Lufthansa Cargo and Kuehne+Nagel encourage industry players to join them in their efforts to eliminate unnecessary paper documents. Participating in the “paperless corridor” is easy for interested logistic companies: All that is required is the participation in the electronic Air Way Bill (eAWB) Single Process and the selection of the eFreight Special Handling Code (EAW) for all general cargo when preparing the shipment and paperless delivery to the airline.