The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has signed an agreement with Switzerland-based International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) to incorporate the IATA-FIATA Air Cargo Programme (IFACP).

IATA Financial and Distribution Services senior vice-president Aleks Popovich said: “IATA and FIATA have reached an important agreement on a new jointly-managed air cargo programme. This is the result of four years of hard work to modernise the relationship between freight forwarders and airlines.

“The IFACP also provides a framework to ensure that industry standards are relevant, pragmatic and fit for purpose.

“These standards cover the endorsement of freight forwarders and more broadly the safe, secure and efficient transportation of air cargo shipments.”

While an existing IATA Cargo Agency Programme has operated over the past decades, IATA's cargo agents are said to have transformed from being ‘selling agents’ to ‘purchasing customers’ for different airlines.

In 2012, IATA and FIATA collaborated with each other with an aim to review, refine and re-engineer the agency scheme.

The new programme is based on rules that move the airline-forwarder relationship away from an airline-led conference to the IATA-FIATA Governance Board (IFGB), which is jointly handled by forwarders and airlines.

FIATA Airfreight Institute (AFI) chairman Rudi Sagel said: “The Cargo Agency Programme has long needed updating.

"This is the result of four years of hard work to modernise the relationship between freight forwarders and airlines."

“I am really pleased that FIATA and IATA have joined forces to provide our industry with a new, modern programme and a framework for operation that benefits both airlines and freight forwarders.

“IFACP will eliminate unnecessary administrative procedures and costs as well as free up valuable resources to tackle the complex challenges that today’s global trade presents.”

With Canada as the pilot country, IFACP will be launched in phases beginning in early 2017.

The complete global launch of the new air cargo programme will be completed by end of 2018.

Image: The new IATA-FIATA Air Cargo Programme will replace the existing IATA Cargo Agency Programme. Photo: courtesy of IATA.