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Australia Contracts 15 Carriers to Keep Goods Moving

An Eva Air Cargo 747 (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Terrill Murriel)

In hopes of keeping some industries afloat, the Australian government has created the International Freight Assistance Mechanism in hopes of keeping some trade routes open for those seeking high demand, limited lifespan items.

The project has been agreed upon by Hon Michael McCormack MP, Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development alongside Hon David Littleproud MP, Minister of Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, Hon Jonathan Duniam, Assistant Minister for Regional Tourism and Hon Simon Birmingham, Minister of Trade, Tourism and Investment. In all, 15 freight companies will keep Australia’s time-sensitive goods moving.

According to the Trade Minister’s office, IFAM exportable products include seafood and shellfish, premium red meats, dairy, fruits and vegetables. The government says that due to the cost of obtaining these deals, the movement of grains and other low-value products will not be allowed in the IFAM deal for the time being.

The project was rolled out and found immediate success for the local Australian agricultural industry, with 560 businesses registering for space to ship good and over 50 flights already being secured for the shipment of those products.

The current operations table for IFAM deal includes working with sending goods to nations that see a demand for these time-sensitive goods while trading back medical supplies when the plane ventures down to Australia. Aviation and logistic companies in charge of exporting these goods include Virgin Australia, Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad Airways, FedEx, Japan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, DHL Global Forwarding and Air Menzies International.

Federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham commented on the situation at hand, saying, “around 90 percent of our air freight usually goes in the bellies of passenger aircraft. With very few international passenger flights leaving Australia at present, our exporters are facing major hurdles. Through the better coordination of freight out of Australia, we can restore key freight routes and establish more frequent flights to our key markets so our agricultural and fisheries exporters can deliver their products to customers on time.”

Agricultural Minister Littleproud echoed this statement, saying “We’re backing our farmers and fishers by making sure they can get more of their high-quality product into overseas markets. This is about reducing the barriers our agricultural and fisheries exporters face, so they can get back to focusing on producing the best and highest-quality product in the world.”

Using IFAM, the number of destinations will increase from four to eleven. The four previous routes, which included Brisbane-Auckland, Hong Kong-Brisbane/Melbourne/Sydney, London(LHR)-Perth, and Los Angeles-Brisbane were already operating as repatriation flights and using Qantas and Virgin Australia aircraft cargo holds to export these goods but left the airline to determine priority.

Now with IFAM in place, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Dubai, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Singapore, and Tokyo will come online as destinations for Australian workers. Those wishing to export should contact the airline they wish to send their goods to and establish what is wished to be shipped. The flights will operate on a supply and demand basis, with no solid schedule set in place.

While the price will still increase for Australians, the government-supported program is keeping the industry competitive in the global scene. The IFAM deal does not apply to the domestic transportation of goods as the supplier must still coordinate costs with their transportation choice should the final destination still rest within the Oceanic country’s domain.

The Australian Government has created an International Freight Coordinator-General position for this operation and has appointed former Toll Holdings managing director Michael Byrne to oversee the airlift. The termination date for IFAM has not been set with the goal being to keep the program going until the commercial aviation market improves to a point where Australians have options on shipping goods overseas.

Ian McMurtry


  • Ian McMurtry

    Although Ian McMurtry was never originally an avgeek, he did enjoy watching US Airways aircraft across western Pennsylvania in the early 2000s. He lived along the Pennsylvania Railroad and took a liking to trains but a change of scenery in the mid-2000s saw him shift more of an interest into aviation. He would eventually express this passion by taking flying lessons in mid-Missouri and joining AirlineGeeks in 2013. Now living in Wichita, Kansas, Ian is in college majoring in aerospace engineering and minoring in business administration at Wichita State University.

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