A requirement for all Australian IATA Air Freight Forwarders is to include an AU number on their master air waybills (MAWB).
Why??? What does this achieve apart from creating more revenue for IATA agency services in Australia.
Lets examine some things about this number:
1. It is only used in Australia. No other country in the world use or require it.
2. Even though the airlines require the number to be shown on the MAWB they do not check its validity.
3. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) do not recognise this number under their safety regulations (It has no meaning to them).
4. The validity checks (if any) are handled by the Cargo Accounts Settlement System (CASS – a division of IATA).
5. IATA agency services are now located in Singapore, not Sydney, so should they be collecting the GST on this service and is it being paid back to the ATO?
So the issue is, DO WE REALLY NEED THIS NUMBER? Does it really improve safety and force air cargo agents to attend dangerous goods training (The CASA legislation and the IATA air cargo agency agreement do that) or is it just another revenue stream?
When Airsafe contacted the Regional head office of IATA Agency Services in Singapore we were told that the “airlines” want this number. We can find no airline rep who can tell us which airline that would be or why the number is only required by Australian forwarders. We suspect that IATA Singapore inherited the “revenue stream” when their Sydney cargo office closed down. It’s been around unchallenged for so long, nobody really knows why it’s there.
So what should be done about it? Well, if you pay good money to be a member of an Australian freight industry association then challenge your association to represent you. Isn’t that what an industry body is for? Ask AFIF and CBFCA what are they doing to have this unnecessary impost on Australian Forwarders removed?
Remember: Everything unnecessary, which adds to your operating costs, damages your business and makes Australian exports more expensive You deserve better.