What is the International Freight Assistance Mechanism?

On 3 July, the Australian Government committed an additional $241.9 million to continue the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM), helping keep international freight routes and flights operating until the end of the year.

The new funding will keep high-value, time sensitive and perishable exports and vital imports, such as medical supplies and other essential items, flowing as we continue the economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. It will also re-establish domestic connections for producers and growers in regional and rural areas that rely on airfreight to get their products to customers.

This funding is in addition to the $110 million announced in April to establish the IFAM under the $1 billion Relief and Recovery Fund to support regions, communities and industry sectors disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

With few international passenger flights at present, restoring global supply chains has been vital to maintaining relationships between Australian businesses and their customers around the world. Since April, the IFAM has made it possible to keep goods flowing into and out of Australia and has been critical to the nation’s response to the global pandemic. IFAM has committed to support over 90,000 tonnes of exports to 65 international destinations between April and October. By reconnecting global supply chains, the IFAM has also supported the import of critical medical supplies.

Even though the IFAM is being extended, it’s important to remember it is a temporary, emergency measure in response to an extraordinary situation. The extension gives Australian businesses more time to re-engineer their business models and adjust to a new and tougher trading environment created by COVID-19.

IFAM prioritises essential imports, such as medicines, medical supplies and equipment into Australia to support Australia’s health response, as well as items of national importance. It also provides the opportunity, on the outbound legs, for high-value and time-sensitive perishable products.

A network of 15 freight forwarders and airfreight service providers was established to support the delivery of the IFAM.

Applying for IFAM grants has changed – all applications must now be registered in SmartyGrants - for further information see “What is grant assistance?” or submit an application

ifam-outbound

Outbound

IFAM support

IFAM is prioritising high-value and time-sensitive perishable products on outbound flights, please register your interest.

Once you’ve registered and received acknowledgement, contact an IFAM Freight Forwarder or your own Freight Forwarder (who will then work with an IFAM Freight Forwarder) to access any of the below options:

Pricing

Airfreight costs will be more than pre-COVID airfreight rates and exporters will need to make a financial contribution towards the increased cost of their freight. The pricing in the flight schedule is inclusive of the IFAM government support but not inclusive of freight forwarders fees or additional costs.

Additional options

Alternatively, there is increasing commercial freight capacity, accessible through your freight forwarder – see Commercial flight options

IFAM flight schedule outbound

ifam-inbound

Inbound

IFAM support

On inbound flights, IFAM is prioritising medical supplies, medicines and equipment to support Australia’s health response, as well as items of national importance.

Importers can work with their freight forwarder to access freight capacity – see IFAM flight schedule inbound

If importers are having difficulty accessing freight space for urgent medical supplies please contact airfreight@austrade.gov.au

Pricing

Airfreight costs will likely be more than pre-COVID airfreight rates and inbound freight pricing is offered at market rate. The pricing in the flight schedule is not inclusive of freight forwarders fees or additional costs.

Additional options

Alternatively, there is increasing commercial freight capacity, accessible through your freight forwarder– see Commercial flight options

IFAM flight schedule inbound

ifam-additional

IFAM freight forwarders and airfreight service providers

A competitive tender process was undertaken by Austrade to select the network of airfreight service providers and freight forwarders listed in the table below. The IFAM freight forwarders will work directly with the airfreight service provider to get your produce on these flights.

Freight forwarders Airfreight service providers
CT Freight Pty Ltd Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd
Schenker Australia Pty Ltd Emirates
Kuehne & Nagel Ltd Etihad Airways PJSC
Air Menzies International (Aust) Pty Ltd Federal Express Corporation
Toll Group Japan Airlines Co. Ltd
DHL Global Forwarding (Australia) Pty Ltd Singapore Airlines Ltd
  QANTAS Airways Ltd
  Qatar Airways Group (Q.C.S.C.)
  Air New Zealand Limited
  United Airlines Inc.

 

I’m not an IFAM freight forwarder, what do I do?

Outbound

Freight forwarders have a range options to access outbound IFAM support for their registered clients:

  • Freight forwarders can directly access some of the IFAM supported fights – see IFAM flight schedule outbound
  • Freight forwarders can work with one of the IFAM Freight forwarders to access IFAM supported flights – see IFAM flight schedule outbound
  • Freight forwarders may be able to directly access the IFAM support flights within 72 hours of departure depending on capacity
  • Freight forwarders can apply for grant assistance if the IFAM supported flights do not meet your client’s needs – see What is grant assistance?

NOTE: Not all businesses will be able to access IFAM flights. If you are contacted by an exporter that has not yet registered their interest in IFAM please do ask them to register their interest. If you have a client that is unable to access IFAM flights, they will still need to work with you to access other freight capacity available – see What other flight options are available?

Inbound

All freight forwarders have access to all inbound IFAM supported flights and the details can be found in the IFAM flight schedule inbound.

What goods are eligible for IFAM support?

Eligibility for products supported by IFAM has shifted to being determined by a set of overarching principles rather than only specific commodities. These principles determine eligibility based on Australian-made or produced products that are:

  • High-value
  • Time-sensitive
  • Reliant on airfreight, for example, due to perishability or are:
    • products that could not be sent by an alternative to airfreight without losing their essential product characteristics or value
    • goods that have a limited shelf life or are required to meet a sudden or immediate need.

OR

  • Otherwise deemed to be in the national interest

Many of the agriculture and seafood products supported by IFAM to date will remain eligible; however, IFAM will not be limited to agriculture and seafood goods, and products meeting the above principles may be considered for IFAM support.

Additional products now eligible under the principles framework may include medicines which have a short shelf life, are high-value and are reliant on airfreight to meet a sudden or immediate need – for example, blood products, or raw material ingredients for pharmaceuticals.  

What support is available for regional and remote locations?

IFAM is committed to supporting regional Australia. There are international IFAM supported freight flights departing from regional locations across Australia, as well as IFAM supported domestic flights connecting to international IFAM supported freight flights – see IFAM flight schedule outbound for details.

In addition, a commercial domestic service is operational, including Qantas and Virgin Australia, Australia Post and Toll. They are operating a minimum domestic network, servicing the most critical metropolitan and regional routes in Australia.

What is grant assistance?

If the scheduled IFAM supported flights do not meet an exporter’s needs, the exporter may discuss their options with their freight forwarder and consider applying for grant assistance through IFAM. Freight forwarders can apply for grant assistance on behalf of the exporter.

The IFAM grant application process has moved to an online system called SmartyGrants – submit an application.

Information on using SmartyGrants can be found in the How to Guide.

Please note:

  • Exporters are still required to submit an EOI before being considered for grant support and must be high-value, time-sensitive and reliant on airfreight (highly-perishable) to be considered
  • IFAM cannot provide grant assistance on scheduled IFAM flights (see IFAM flight schedule outbound)
  • Exporters and freight forwarders are expected to firstly consider the scheduled IFAM supported flights
  • Larger loads of high-value, time-sensitive and perishable freight, or applications for support over multiple flights or weeks, are more likely to be supported

What other flight options are available?

In addition to IFAM supported flights, there is increasing commercial freight capacity, accessible through your freight forwarder – see Commercial flight options for further details.

Qantas and Virgin Australia are also making airfreight capacity available on repatriation international passenger services to key destinations. Contact your freight forwarder, or for more information contact:

Compliance information

To reduce the risk of goods being held up at international ports, please include all relevant physical export documents, including government-issued phytosanitary and health certificates, with your consignment.

Disruptions to air and courier services due to the COVID-19 crisis are delaying the delivery of airmail. Including your export documents with your consignment will avoid delays between the arrival of goods in overseas markets and the arrival of documents sent via airmail.

This will help ensure your goods are processed and unloaded in a timely manner.

IFAM fact sheet

The IFAM fact sheet provides further information and answers to commonly asked questions.

Grant assistance

The IFAM grant application process has moved to an online system called SmartyGrants – submit an application.

Information on using SmartyGrants can be found in the How to Guide.

Commercial flight options

There is increasing commercial freight capacity, accessible through your freight forwarder:

Commercial flight options

Latest IFAM news

30 Apr 2020

Freight controller appointed to manage airfreight in the national interest (Ministerial)

Click through to news item

 

COVID-19: Support of Australian businesses

We are working hard to help Australian businesses, big and small, overcome the challenges posed by COVID-19. For additional government support visit business.gov.au

For market insights and latest updates visit Austrade’s COVID-19 page.