The International Freight Coordinator General for Austrade, Michael Byrne, on Friday provided an update on the current status and future of International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM):

  • As of Sunday 24 May, IFAM has contributed to 1,048 flights, uplifting 25,090 tonnes of agricultural and seafood products to 28 international destinations.
  • The week of 17-24 May 2020 was the biggest single week since IFAM commenced, with 8,000 tonnes uplifted to international markets.
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables represent approximately 10 per cent of total cargo uplifted on IFAM flights to date.
  • Horticulture exports by state: Western Australia β€” 1,200 tonnes; Victoria β€” 87 tonnes; Queensland Β β€” Β 733 tonnes; New South Wales Β β€” Β 1,778 tonnes.
  • Since the COVID-19 crisis commenced, Australian airfreight capacity was down as much as 91 per cent on pre-COVID levels, with the additional flights that have commenced both commercially and through IFAM the current capacity is down 68 per cent on pre-COVID levels.
  • Based on current flight scheduling and the rate of spend, the original $110 million assistance provided by the Federal Government will be fully expended by 12-17 July 2020.

To support primary producers beyond July 2020, the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, and Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, The Hon David Littleproud MP, have made a submission to Cabinet to extend IFAM beyond the current funding.

Cabinet will consider this submission on 11 June and determine whether to extend IFAM into the second half of the year.

The challenges for exporters of fresh fruits and vegetables, in particular the price sensitivity that impacts on greater uptake of IFAM for horticulture producers, has been taken into account in this Cabinet submission.

Further information on the future of IFAM will be provided following the decision by Cabinet in June 2020.

  • Grower-exporters who have not yet registered for IFAM can still register by clicking here and should access the Austrade IFAM website for a regularly updated listing of airline schedules, repatriation flights and freight rates for IFAM flights.
  • Vegetable exporters should continue to liaise with your Freight Forwarder to discuss how to access IFAM and other commercial flights for airfreight to international markets.

If you would like to discuss IFAM further, please contact AUSVEG National Manager – Export Development Michael Coote (03) 9882 0277 or at michael.coote@ausveg.com.au.