Iraq monopoly is a disgrace

AIRFREIGHT shipments into Iraq are in chaos, according to brokers, forwarders and integrators, following the imposition of new procedures that hand a complete monopoly on services and control of pricing to Rus Aviation.

Since Rus Aviation was appointed the sole agent in August many other regional operators have been prevented from operating into the country and are forced to use their services.

The situation has been branded the new ‘wild east’ as allegations of massive price rises, poor service and non-existent legal paperwork have hampered the flow of essential goods into the country.

FedEx are so angered by the situation that they have suspended all services to the country. In a letter to customers Bill Gunning a worldwide account manager for FedEx US DoD contacts, wrote:

“Effective October 7, FedEx Express is suspending service to and from Iraq due to recent operational changes made by Rus Aviation (Rus). In August 2009, the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority and Iraqi Airways granted Rus the exclusive right to control cargo airlift into and out of Iraq. Since that time, FedEx Express has had no choice but to use Rus and, as a result, the reliability of our service to Iraq has been substantially degraded.

“FedEx has significant concerns about the way Rus conducts its business. Since it gained total control of cargo airlift in Iraq in early August, Rus has arbitrarily rationed cargo flights into and out of Iraq while at the same time more than doubling the cost of each flight. They frequently provide only a day’s notice on approval for airlift. This makes it quite challenging to give the optimal customer experience and truly deliver the Purple Promise. Accordingly, FedEx has decided to temporarily suspend service to Iraq until such time as we are able to work out a solution.

“FedEx has made our concerns known to the Iraqi Government, and we hope for a quick resolution.”

For the full story, please read the latest issue of Air Cargo News, dated 16 October.

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