International partnership seeks to develop platform to calculate air cargo carbon emissions

13th March 2024 By: Rebecca Campbell - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

The global representative body for the airline industry, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and global non-profit freight sector climate action organisation the Smart Freight Centre (SFC) have announced that they are partnering to supply air cargo shipment carbon dioxide emissions calculations that are transparent and consistent. This is an important prerequisite for the decarbonisation of the air transport sector.

In 2022, IATA launched the air passenger version of its CO2 Connect platform, which uses primary industry data to enable extremely accurate carbon emission calculations. This platform has proven to be a success. IATA and the SFC will now focus on developing the air cargo version of CO2 Connect.

“Our partnership with the [SFC] will help us to accelerate the development of CO2 Connect for air cargo as the most authoritative tool for carbon calculations,” affirmed IATA senior VP commercial products & services Frederic Leger. “This is important for airlines, shippers and their customers who all need accurate calculations based on real data to support their contributions to global decarbonisation efforts.”

“A key milestone has been reached and this has been a long time in the making,” highlighted SFC Clean Air Transport Programme director Andrea Schoen. “The need for unified emissions data is stronger than ever and this milestone will enable cargo transport service purchasers to make well-founded, long-term decisions. Transparency is key to drive decarbonisation investments and activities, encouraging collaborative and synergetic action throughout the value chain. Our partnership with IATA will enable effective collaboration by building trust and exchanging information across the value chain which, in turn, will help in accelerating our ongoing efforts in decarbonising the aviation industry.”

IATA CO2 Connect for Cargo, as the new platform is called, takes into account the specific fuel burn of both dedicated freighter aircraft and passenger airliners carrying cargo in their belly holds, airline-specific cargo load factors and passenger load factors, to ascertain the correct ratio of carbon emissions to be attributed to belly cargo. CO2 Connect for Cargo is being piloted in a project with German multinational logistics group Kuehne+Nagel. This is to make certain that the platform fulfils the requirements and needs of both freight forwarders and their customers.

“As a freight forwarder, we can attest to the value that this collaboration will bring to the industry and to our customers,” said Kuehne+Nagel Air Logistics sustainability global head Fabiano Piccinno. “We’re happy to bring our expertise to the table and we look forward to seeing this project paving the way for future sustainable solutions in aviation.”