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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.”

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