WRL Exports Find New Way to Destination
The International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM), launched by the Federal Government on April 1st, has now established a new air freight network to help restore critical global supply chains for high-value Australian agricultural and fisheries producers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through this initiative, the Australian Government is partially offsetting the cost of airfreight – reducing airfreight and freight forwarding costs for exporters and ensuring businesses and exporters in the country can swiftly transport their produce on flights and to international customers. The network comprises 15 air freight service providers and freight forwarders.In the first three weeks of its operation, over 560 Australian businesses have registered their interest in utilising the International Freight Assistance Mechanism and agreements for 55 freight flights have already been secured.
Geraldton Fishermen’s Co-operative is administering the initial grant program in conjunction with the other processors and has provided an update on how the mechanism is supporting our industry through COVID-19:
Since the mass cancellation of the commercial passenger airlines in March as COVID-19 spread around the globe and borders were closed, GFC and WRLC have been working collaboratively with Federal Government to ensure the continued freight availability for the WRL industry.
This work was instrumental in the development of the Federal Government’s International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) program. As part of the IFAM program, the Western Rock Lobster industry was the first industry to secure funding by way of a bespoke $900,000 grant. This grant will be used to offset the higher costs associated with chartering flights to move our lobsters to market and is now providing much-needed freight capacity and certainty for the industry.
The grant has been provided to GFC on behalf of the WRL industry and is available to all Western Rock Lobster processors on a fair system of allocation based on market share. Importantly, Western Rock Lobster processors will continue to work collaboratively together to ensure that our industry continues to have access to freight for as long as commercial passenger planes remain grounded.
By the end of this week, our industry would have shipped product on 6 flights under the grant program totalling approximately 150,000 kilos. This product has been shipped to multiple destinations including Xiamen, Shanghai and Hong Kong.