Adapting to changing trading environments

The International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) continues to be a targeted, temporary emergency measure and businesses should use this time to adjust to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the International Air Transport Association reporting that air travel is unlikely to return to pre-COVID conditions until 2024, it is more important than ever that Australian businesses in all states and territories review their operating models.

International Freight Co-Ordinator General, Michael Byrne, suggests businesses should consider the following:

  1. Aggregate and consolidate – While it may seem counterintuitive under normal conditions, with COVID-19 still impacting flights, businesses need to work together with other exporters and freight forwarders to consolidate loads. By doing so, businesses may be able to access lower rates for loading, packing, warehousing and transport.
  2. Deal in facts – Build an understanding of the realities of the situation. For example, you can’t land very large planes in Hobart (due to restrictions around capacity of tarmac, loading, apron), so chartering a large plane to Hobart to move Tasmanian produce internationally is not likely. Consider new options for how you could get your goods where they need to go. IFAM is always open to hearing your ideas but be realistic about what can be achieved.
  3. Plan – Businesses must do extensive planning now more than ever. With flight numbers down approximately 75% from last year and freight capacity filling up weeks in advance, it is no longer feasible to book freight on the same day you’re intending to ship. Businesses need to be forward planning their freight movements and business operations.
  4. Adjust and evolve – Use this time to adjust, look at the structure of your business, your product and your supply chains. For example, are there insufficiencies in your supply chain? Can you re-negotiate third-party contracts? Change your packaging? Export by sea rather than air? Use this breathing space to plan for your long-term financial profitability.

IFAM is working across all levels of government to provide information on support options to help businesses modify supply chains and explore other freight solutions.

For more information on business support options, visit

This article was provided for the Guacamole of 13 November 2020.

Author: Austrade
Date Published: 11/11/2020