Australia ends Covid airfreight scheme

By Chris Lewis

Credit: Shutterstock

The Australian Government Trade and Investment Commission has closed the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM), a temporary, targeted, emergency support measure put in place to keep air links open during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The programme maintained global air connections and gave Australian businesses time to align their operating models to changes in supply chains.

The last IFAM flights were due to be completed by 30 June.

The Commission said that since April 2020, the programme has reconnected nine Australian airports to 63 international destinations and helped move high-value perishable Australian products to existing international markets, as well as bringing in vital imports to aid the pandemic response.

IFAM covered goods that could not be sent by alternative means without losing their essential product characteristics or value, had a limited shelf life or were required to meet a sudden or immediate need.

Led by air vice-marshal Margaret Staib as the Australian Government freight controller and Michael Byrne as the international freight coordinator general, the IFAM provided a total of AUS$1,042.7m. The final $260.9m tranche, awarded in August 2021, extended operations to the middle of 2022.

At the beginning of the year, the Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA) and the Australian Peak Shippers Association (APSA) asked Australia’s Federal government to extend the IFAM beyond its June end date to further support air cargo operations.

Logistics groups urge Australian government to extend cargo support scheme

Australian forwarders fear air cargo capacity crunch if Covid support ends

 

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