IATA and FIATA hail partnership of equals in new-look agency programme

18 / 07 / 2016

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) have unveiled long-awaited reforms to the IATA Cargo Agency Program, promising to treat forwarders as equals alongside airlines.

Following a review initiated in 2012, the new IATA-FIATA Air Cargo Program (IFACP), signed today by IATA director general and chief executive, Tony Tyler and FIATA president, Huxiang Zhao, moves decision-making on the rules governing the airline-forwarder relationship away from an airline-led conference to a governance body, the IATA-FIATA Governance Board (IFGB). This will be jointly managed by forwarders and airlines, to reflect current market conditions.

The changes reflect the evolution of IATA cargo agents or freight forwarders from being ‘selling-agents’ for airlines into ‘purchasing customers’ and aims to involve forwarders as equal partners in the decision making process.

The new agreement better reflects new business models and the buyer-seller relationship between forwarders and airlines. The joint governance board will be better equipped to promote efficiency and shared values, clarify supply chain liability and improved compliance with safety and security standards through a more coordinated and concerted industry approach.

IATA senior vice president, financial and distribution services, Aleks Popovich, said that the new jointly-managed air cargo program was “the result of four years of hard work to modernize the relationship between freight forwarders and airlines".

He added: "The IFACP also provides a framework to ensure that industry standards are relevant, pragmatic and fit for purpose. These standards cover the endorsement of freight forwarders and more broadly the safe, secure and efficient transportation of air cargo shipments.”

Chairman of FIATA’s Airfreight Institute, Rudi Sagel, added: “The Cargo Agency Program has long needed updating.” It would, he said, “provide our industry with a new, modern program and a framework for operation that benefits both airlines and freight forwarders.

"IFACP will eliminate unnecessary administrative procedures and costs as well as free up valuable resources to tackle the complex challenges that today’s global trade presents.”

These include regulatory compliance, safety and security and introduction of new technologies.

According to a joint IATA and FIATA statement, a phased rollout of IFACP will begin in early 2017 with Canada as the pilot country and it will be completed worldwide by the end of 2018.

The agreement will be publicly signed and endorsed at the October FIATA World Congress in Dublin, Ireland.

There is no immediate impact on IATA cargo agents; existing participants in the IATA Cargo Agency/Intermediary Program will be provided with a new IATA-FIATA Air Cargo Program Agreement when implementation begins in their country. Forwarders can join the new programme by completing the new agreement and no further assessment will be required.