An in-house-designed UNIX-based AFSA (airfreight forwarding system architecture) helps U-Freight to locate customers' shipments while en route. U-Freight Hong Kong has been on-line with AFSA since September 1993. The system is being progressively installed throughout its worldwide network of offices with more than 25 already on-line, mainly in Asia. Every office will eventually be equipped with its own server to ensure maximum system availability and the servers will be interconnected by public or private communication links. The system will cut communication costs by about a half. AFSA was designed to meet increasing demands by customer for a rapid means of tracking their freight while in transit. Remote dial-up provides easy access to the system which incorporates a user-friendly graphical interface. Shippers, consignees and third parties can all dial in to track shipments. But the system also has the facility to provide additional value-added functions like booking, cargo consolidation, EDI, purchase order tracking and details of customers' accounts. AFSA also supports third-party data entry from road haulage companies, customs brokers and other freight forwarders. AFSA operates in a client-server architecture for the convenience of end users but it also permits single management of important data files with complete security. The database has been designed to permit the data to be migrated easily to a mainframe if this becomes necessary at some time in the future. Access to the third-party data can be made via e-mail tracking, a World-Wide Web browser or EDI link. U-Freight's World-Wide Web Secure Server was developed to provide a simple solution to give data access and input worldwide for customers and third parties. The latest technology has enabled a low cost solution to be produced. Queries or responses can be generated by e-mail. Customers can also receive automatic shipment pre-alerts via ADM (automatic document messenger) and automatically receive e-mail or fax shipment exception reports. The World-Wide Web can be used to answer questions about air freight consolidation rates and provide details about U-Freight offices. Other features include on-line booking and report generation. UPS and Federal Express use the same type of system as U-Freight but U-Freight claims to be the only freight forwarder anywhere that is using this particular system. As the company's involvement in global logistics grows, so will the need to make use of state-of-the-art technology to develop systems that will keep U-Freight ahead of the competition. U-Freight's management is confident that this, in turn, will satisfy its customers.