AUSVEG participated in an industry briefing this morning on behalf of the freight community, regarding the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM), which highlighted important information to assist vegetable exporters with the international airfreight supply chain.

The briefing was recorded and will be published in full on the Austrade website on Wednesday 29 April.

IFAM is seeking to schedule regular charter flights with Qantas and Singapore Airlines to three or four export markets for the next six weeks. These flights will be open to everyone who has registered for IFAM.

Freight forwarders will play a key role is securing blocks of cargo capacity (10 tonne minimum) and can use this to aggregate and consolidate export shipments for multiple customers.

AUSVEG urges vegetable exporters to contact their existing freight forwarder as a matter of urgency to discuss how they intend to work and secure blocks of cargo capacity with IFAM, how they can assist you to continue to supply your key export customers and provide guidance on expected freight rates.

Additional key points for vegetable exporters:

  • As of 27 April 2020, IFAM has already contributed to 149 flights, uplifting 6,600 tonnes of agricultural and aquaculture exports from Australia to key export markets.
  • A month ago, Australian airfreight capacity was down 91 per cent, however with the additional flights that have commenced recently, the current capacity is down 71 per cent from pre-COVID-19 levels.
  • The 551 applications from agricultural and aquaculture exporters will be reviewed by COB today, 28 April, and all registered exporters will be contacted in the coming days.
  • The first question that exporters will be asked is if they want to use their existing Freight Forwarder – if not one of the six IFAM Freight Forwarders will be allocated to consider your export needs.
  • IFAM does not have the capacity to arrange individual small shipments (e.g. under 10 tonne) and exporters will have to work with either other exporters or their Freight Forwarder to consolidate the minimum block requirement.
  • Based on current demand and flight scheduling, the initial $110 million assistance provided by the Federal Government will be fully expended within two to three months. Government is considering this assistance provided to agri-exporters as ‘Phase 1’, and Cabinet will commence discussions tomorrow, 29 April, on a possible ‘Phase 2’ which may extend further funding and consider whether a broader range of export products should be included. IFAM is not intended to be a long-term facility or to continue if it will impede the reestablishment of market-driven commercial airfreight.

If you would like to discuss IFAM further, please contact Michael Coote (03) 9882 0277 or at