CASS will not benefit the air cargo agents: ACAAI
In the July issue of Cargotalk, we had published an interview with SL Sharma, Vice President, Air Cargo Agents Association of India (ACAAI) on the current issues pertaining to international air cargo industry in India. According to him, in that interview an impression appeared to have been created as if ACAAI is not against Cargo Account Settlement System (CASS) as long as it is under the umbrella of Indian Air Cargo Programme (IACP). Sharma, presents more clarifications on this point, in view of the huge importance of the issue.
According to Sharma, since 2006, the year when IATA first mooted the introduction of CASS in India, ACAAI consistently maintained its view and many a times asserted through various documents that the forwarders industry has a serious objection to the introduction of CASS in India since it is a unilateral decision of IATA, which was
The association is of the concerted view that the terms and conditions of IATA are inequitable and unfair to the forwarders”
SL Sharma vice President, air cargo agents association of india (acaai)
mooted and undertaken by it without any appropriate consultation with ACAAI. The association is of the concerted view that the terms and conditions of IATA are inequitable and unfair to the forwarders. In ACAAI’s view, CASS does not provide any benefit or advantage to the operations of agents. ACAAI also pointed out that while CASS claims to improve their cash flows “as the CASS rate of success in collecting funds is virtually 100 per cent” in other jurisdictions, it is imperative to mention that in India, the success rate in agent payments to airlines has remained at virtually 100 per cent over the last 40 years without CASS. Much of this is accorded to the responsible behaviour of the cargo agents, who have invested their own funds to pay the airlines on time and in full, regardless of the delays and defaults in payments from the shippers, who in fact are the airlines’ customers. Sharma also denounced any perception that “air cargo agents seek adequate time to get the industry streamlined for a successful implementation of CASS”. “In fact, most air cargo agents already have automated operations, with capability for EDI exchanges with the carriers, terminals and regulators. Hence, the matter of CASS is not a technology issue at all,” he said. Moreover, ACAAI is also very concerned with the introduction of CASS without adequate data protection arrangements at IATA. Sharma also emphasised that ACAAI has also promoted, in cooperation with Kale Logistics Solutions, the establishment of UPLIFT (Universal Platform for Logistics and Integrated Freight Transport), an EDI platform or CCS through which all players in the air cargo industry can be connected. “Thus, ACAAI members are fully enabled to commence EDI operations.”