July 18, 2018: Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (Hactl) has become the first cargo terminal operator (CTO) in the world to complete a pilot for IATA’s new smart facility operational capacity audit (SFOC).

SFOC aims to provide total transparency on capacities and services offered by CTOs, by means of a multi-tiered validation process. This could save thousands of man-hours every year taken up with largely duplicated auditing effort. It targets a reduction in complexity and number of current industry audits, by adopting all IATA standards relating to cargo terminal operations

Hactl was chosen as the launch test site for the new audit system because of the scale and complexity of its operations, the diverse range of cargo it handles, the number of carriers (over 100) it serves, and the company’s highly-developed quality management systems.

“The IATA SFOC pilot with Hactl was successful. The feedback received from the Hactl team was valuable in fine-tuning the audit questions, auditor actions and guidance ensuring a consistently high audit quality across the program,” said Glyn Hughes, IATA’s global head of cargo.

Initially, the program aims to reduce carrier audit complexity by 50 percent, reducing the burden on cargo terminal operators. “SFOC audit reports will enable carriers to complement their risk analysis data, and conduct more focused on-site audits that are shorter, less resource-intensive and less frequent,” he explained.

The program will encompass remote validation of handling facilities’ infrastructure and equipment, supplemented by the SFOC on-site audit. The program will provide a central register of all participating handlers’ physical resources and capabilities, and will also confirm that all validated handling agents comply with IATA’s cargo handling manual (ICHM), a uniform set of standards and criteria covering all aspects of their operations.

“The IATA Smart Facility Operational Capacity Audit will provide assurance to the air cargo industry that the published infrastructure, equipment and operating procedure information is complete and accurate,” said Marc Voelkl, IATA’s project manager - smart facility. “Having validated capacity information of cargo terminal operators publicly available will facilitate better matchmaking between carriers and handlers, and assist in network planning and development, catering precisely to the shippers’ needs.”

The SFOC Audit shares some content with IATA’s ISAGO Cargo and Mail (CGM) discipline; an SFOC- accredited CTO will therefore be automatically validated for the CGM discipline. The SFOC Audit will be offered as a stand-alone audit, or in conjunction with ISAGO (refresher) audits, to further reduce accreditation costs and duration of audits.

Hactl COO, Tan Chee Hong, added, “SFOC audit will provide a simple, public register of all handler’s facilities and capabilities, supported by benchmarking against universally accepted industry standards. This can only result in the spread of best practice, and competition based on quality rather than price.”

Further SFOC pilot audits are to be conducted at handling locations in London, Luxembourg, Singapore, Amsterdam and Dubai throughout the remainder of 2018. Alongside these pilots, IATA will continue development of the smart facility standards manual and the smart facility auditor training programme.

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