In the COVID-19 pandemic scenario which is a “force majeure“, and the current lockdowns and entry bans in trade and transport logistics activities in regions like India, Africa, and beyond, it has become impossible for the majority of air cargo agents to remit the payments to IATA (CASS) and the airlines on the due date based on the sales reports. Neutral Air Partner organization will direct all its efforts to highlight and address this concern to the right platform and to the air cargo press.
The export manufacturing houses, importers, and the overseas cargo agents offices are completely closed on account of the lockdown. Hence, many cargo agents have requested IATA and airlines, through their local air cargo and forwarders’ associations, and through several written communications, to grant a grace period of 21 days beyond the due date of payment for the fortnightly payment cycle from March 2020 until the lockdown is lifted and pandemic is controlled, or to roll over the sales report payment cycle of March and April for one month. Both IATA and Airlines have refused to grant any extension as per our information received, and they are rigidly insisting on payment on due date which is 30th of March.
“How do we pay the airlines when our country and the whole world is in lockdown and we are unable to collect money from shippers, importers, and overseas agents” NAP member says.
The 50 % of global airfreight market is controlled by SME airfreight forwarders and service providers, all with a limited financial liquidity and cash flows. Some may be driven out of business, as IATA might revoke their accreditation due to failure of payments. Such a situation will result in loss of jobs and livelihood of hundreds of thousands of employees. Many cargo agents claim the “force majeure“ clause in IATA resolutions and request IATA to extend a grace period of 20 – 30 days or to rollover Fenruary and March sales report for a month during the Covid-19 crisis. If the cargo agents fall, we will see a snowball coming for our industry“ says Christos Spyrou, CEO of Neutral Air Partner.
NAP will keep you posted with any latest development on this issue.