eCommerce – what does it mean to safety?


You say you want a revolution

Well, you know

We all want to change the world

You tell me that it's evolution

Well, you know

We all want to change the world

-          The Beatles

eCommerce will change the world as we know it.

Think about this – there was a time when business was static, you needed offices, things, people to do business with.

Not anymore.

In fact it’s so ‘last century’. Who even thinks like that anymore?

These days business is mobile.

We can do business by smartphone from anywhere. What3Words (https://what3words.com/) has mapped the planet into three-by-three metre squares.

I can arrange a collection from anywhere – even my craft shop in the bush – and have it delivered to an informal settlement anywhere.

What a powerful tool.

The major courier and express shipment operators have already incorporated What3Words into their systems.

It just shows how fast we are moving.

As for online stores – anybody can be one, act as a fulfilment centre or sell their own goods, and get their product delivered anywhere.

Drone delivery is being tested by Amazon and DHL among others. We have no idea what lies ahead for the logistics and delivery industries and we are not (in my opinion) giving enough thought to the security and safety implications of these ground-breaking changes.

Who is educating business and industry about the dangers to life and aviation safety by introducing dangerous goods into the supply chain?

We should be asking ourselves: are we investing in education, teaching people that shipping lithium ion batteries (without telling transporters) could cause a catastrophic fire on an aircraft and kill 300 people?

When an operator is dealing with thousands of shipments a day, with most of the cargo unmarked except for an address and sender, how are they going to know what is in the parcel unless we tell them?

And if the shipper, say it’s a small business in Brakwater, does not know that they must label certain goods as being dangerous, and they don’t know what they can and cannot ship, would they even begin to think that things must be done the correct way to avoid people dying?

More often than not, we leave this responsibility to the long-suffering freight forwarder, courier or express parcel company, and we expect them to deal with it.

How do they do that? And why is it only their responsibility?

Do we only think of these hazards when things go wrong?

Then of course we seek a blameworthy company and/or person and that always seems to be somebody in the shipping chain, never mind that they may not have known what they were shipping.

Of course we cannot reach everyone who has started an e-commerce company.

And we need these new businesses.

We need to encourage entrepreneurs and we need jobs, but we need to be as safe as we can.

As safe as we can while this is happening.

We need a new plan if we’re going to change the world.

This is not going to happen unless we all work together; the media, business chambers, logistics operators, industry bodies – all of us.

No one person is going to do this alone and it must be done.

If we don’t increase aviation safety, people will die.

We started with the Beatles, let them close:

You say you got a real solution

Well, you know

We'd all love to see the plan

You ask me for a contribution

Well, you know

We're doing what we can

Let’s all do what we can to come up with a solution for safer airfreight.