04 Jan, 2021

What is the International Freight Assistance Mechanism?

The IFAM (INTERNATIONAL FREIGHT ASSISTANCE MECHANISM) is a specific urgent measure introduced by the Australian Government in response to COVID-19. The IFAM assists with finance to help international Freight The mechanism provides funding to help keep International freight and Flights moving to and from Australia.

The idea behind IFAM is to reconnect supply chains and support the import of crucial medical and emergency supplies for the Australia nation. It also helps with the uplift of time sensitive perishable products from Australia to international markets. The INTERNATIONAL FREIGHT ASSISTANCE MECHANISM support of flights has helped Australian Exporters to uplift over 150,000 kg to over 50 destinations to early December 2020.

IFAM is by Opening or Reopening Air Freight routes, providing Australian businesses disproportionately affected by COVID-19 time to adapt their business models, adjust to a new and tougher international markets, environment and preserve jobs.

Find out about support available for businesses.

When was IFAM established?

IFAM was Introduced in April 2020, initial funding was $110 million to assist with keeping supply chains open. The International Freight Co- ordinator is led by Michael Byrne as the International Freight Co-ordinator General Freight Controller.

In October 2020, the Australian Government committed a further $317.1 million to extend IFAM until the middle of 2021. This is in addition to the $241.9 million injection announced in July 2020.

The additional funding also continues to support the re-building of domestic connections for producers and growers in regional and rural areas that rely on airfreight to get their products to customers.

Why is IFAM needed?

Travel restrictions imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in an initial reduction of more than 90% of passenger flights in and out of Australia (Internal Paper prepared for the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, Boston Consulting Group, 2020).

This had an immediate and devastating effect on Australia’s ability to airfreight goods. As an island nation, Australia is heavily reliant on passenger flights for time-sensitive freight, with 80% of Australia’s airfreight typically carried in the bellies of passenger flights (pg.8 International Airfreight Indicator 2019, Infrastructure Partnerships Australia and Oxford Economics).

Restoring global supply chains has been vital to Australia’s COVID-19 health response and maintaining relationships between Australian businesses and their existing customers around the world. Around 35,000 jobs directly and over 120,000 jobs indirectly in the agriculture, seafood, and aviation and logistics sectors are at risk if airfreight supply chains fail – many of these in regional communities (Internal Paper prepared for the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, Boston Consulting Group, 2020).