News / Forwarders to negotiate rates with airlines in Unicef vaccine programme

first_img Six global forwarders will ultimately determine the rates paid to airlines by Unicef for vaccine distribution.Yesterday, 16 airlines announced they had signed MoUs with Unicef to support its global vaccination plan.The agreements, which last five years, do not include pricing, according to the UN children’s organisation.“Pricing is outside the scope of the MoU, but will remain subject to competitive bidding with the nominated forwarders,” said Mounir Bouazar, Covid-19 vaccine global logistics lead, Unicef Supply Division. “The terms of the agreement are confidential, but they cover commitments from airlines to work closely with Unicef and its respective forwarders to secure access, capacity, priority, schedule reliability, and cold chain monitoring.”Unicef will agree an overall rate for each country, per allocation, per round. Its contracts are not with the airlines but with the forwarders.“But the MoUs are tripartite agreements between Unicef, forwarders and airlines,” explained Mr Bouazar, adding that “we prefer not to share the pricing mechanisms, it’s an internal matter”.Airlines, which were chosen on the basis of the match between the vaccine routes and their networks, must prioritise vaccines and related equipment at the expense of other cargo, according to the MoU.However, it is not yet clear whether the programme will in reality affect other freight, a concern of air cargo customers for some time.A spokesperson for Air France-KLM Cargo said it was “very difficult to predict, as it will depend on how many vaccines will be available for distribution, compared with the capacity demand for other cargo”.“The amount of vaccines that have to be transported is considerable, but if you compare it to the total air cargo demand, it is not that much.“We expect we are able to accommodate all vaccine shipments within our existing capacity, and still have opportunities to increase capacity on lanes where this is needed, as not all our planes are yet in operation.”Unicef is one of the leading partners of the Global COVAX Facility, set up to ensure that the 190 participating countries have equitable access to two billion doses of vaccine by the end of the year.Based on the COVAX Facility’s indicative distribution and first-round allocation plan, 145 countries will receive doses to immunise about 3% of their population, on average, starting in the first half of this year.Mr Bouazar added that “vaccine shipments will follow the WHO allocation to serve countries in an equitable and fair manner, proportionally to the size of their population, at every round of allocation.”While competitive bidding from large forwarders may help keep airfreight prices as moderate as possible, the MoU will help Unicef secure sufficient capacity. The UN body struggled last year in the face of restricted capacity: in 2019, it distributed 2.43bn vaccines by air. Last year it managed to move just 1.8bn.But it is not just lack of capacity hampering the UN children’s aid organisation.Unicef noted in December that, although the air cargo market was still difficult, with longer transit times and no relief on jet fuel prices despite plunging rates, it had seen improvement since the brutal second quarter, when it faced up to 500% increases on charters.“In terms of cost, many airlines had suspended their contract rates, and confirmed all rates locally on an ad-hoc basis. The rates have increased substantially and rapidly, as the demand for aircraft charters has been high, with Unicef registering rate increases by as much as 100% to 500% per charter.”But, it added: “Recently, Unicef has been receiving rates from airlines, some are for short durations while others are for the whole winter period, reflecting some overall improvements since the second quarter 2020.“The limitations to airfreight presented Unicef with one of its single biggest challenge to its operations.”Africa, it said, was particularly challenging for air cargo capacity – and particularly worrying.“It has a limited capacity to cope with shock,” said Unicef. “Africa is the region currently only having an estimated 5% of the 22m [Covid cases] currently reported, which with the low levels of testing make it impossible to know the true scale of infection, which … could reach nearly 123m cases this year, causing 300,000 deaths – in which Africa may lose half of its GDP,” it warned.The 16 airlines working with Unicef are: AirBridgeCargo, AirFrance-KLM, Astral Aviation, Brussels Airlines, Cargolux, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Ethiopian, Etihad, IAG Cargo, Korean Air, Lufthansa Cargo, Qatar Airways, Saudia, Singapore Airlines and United. By Alex Lennane 17/02/2021last_img read more

US tax reform could help broadband expansion

first_img Web companies renew US net neutrality campaign Federal Communications Commission (FCC)tax regulations Previous ArticleApple absent from growing Sprint HPUE device listNext ArticleBaidu, Shouqi partner on driverless vehicles Tags AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInLinkedInShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to MoreAddThisMore 27 OCT 2017 FCC moves on China Unicom block Diana is Mobile World Live’s US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana came to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine, digital-only… Read more Related US coalition calls for FCC spectrum shake-up Diana Goovaerts Author CCA ANNUAL CONVENTION, FORT WORTH, TEXAS: A legal expert explained a small change in how US operators are taxed on broadband expansion funds they receive from the government could help the money go even further in closing the digital divide.Jennifer Bagg, a partner at law company Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis who advises communications and technology companies on regulatory issues, said US tax reform could include a provision which changes the way operators are taxed on money they receive from the Federal Communications Commission for broadband deployments.Currently, operators pay the standard corporate tax rate on those monies, which come from the Universal Service Fund.“Today if you’re applying for funds and thinking about how much money you actually need, if you have a 30 per cent tax rate, for every $100 you need you really need to ask for $130 because you’re going to have to pay the $30 into tax,” Bagg explained during a panel session: “So that seems like something really easy and common sense that could be changed as part of the upcoming tax reform legislation that could really benefit broadband.”Bagg explained such a change would increase the value of the fund by allowing the same amount of money to stretch a bit further.Rate reductionThe tax reform plan proposed by President Donald Trump and his Republican partners earlier this year would slash the corporate tax rate from 35 per cent to 20 per cent. The proposed changes would also allow businesses to write-off expenses for new investments for at least the next five years. AT&T executives have said the operator will step up its investment levels if the reforms pass.But while elements of the tax reform package have been advertised as a boon for broadband deployments, Bagg warned most of those incentives are mainly aimed at companies with large incomes rather than small and rural carriers.“If you’re a company that receives a lot of [Universal Service Fund] subsidies, then you typically aren’t going to qualify for the tax incentives in the way that some of the bigger carriers are going to,” she noted. Home US tax reform could help broadband expansionlast_img read more

News / New probe ordered into ‘cartel’ claims by India’s air cargo agents against IATA

first_img© Abhishek Singh | – Air India First Boeing 787 Dreamliner By Sam Whelan, Asia correspondent 15/12/2016 India’s competition authority has been ordered to re-investigate claims by air cargo agents that IATA and affiliate IATA India are operating an anti-competitive cartel.The controversy dates back to 2012 when the Air Cargo Agents Association of India (ACAAI) filed a complaint citing IATA’s “anti-competitive activities and abuse of dominant position”.The complaint, to the Competition Commission of India (CCI), claims CASS – IATA’s Cargo Accounts Settlement System – imposed rules on forwarders that are anti-competitive, unilateral and one-sided.Fast-forward to June 2015: the CCI ruled IATA had not contravened India’s Competition Act.The ACAAI appealed before the Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT), arguing that the CCI had not fully addressed the “aspect of abuse of dominant position” by IATA.And last month, COMPAT upheld the appeal and ordered the CCI to conduct a fresh investigation and submit a new report within 60 days.The ACAAI told The Loadstar it wanted “an equitable outcome” for Indian forwarders and IATA-member airlines from what it described as a “David versus Goliath battle”.“Currently, all decisions are made behind closed doors by the CAC (Cargo Agency Conference), which is a cartel of IATA airlines making rules unilaterally for agents to strictly follow, or be out of business,” said the forwarder body.“All rules and resolutions must be formulated by equal representation of both parties involved, across the table.”ACAAI also takes issue with IATA’s accreditation criteria for agents, claiming they are “nothing short of draconian”, with “separate standards conveniently for the western world”.The ACAAI said it was common in Asia-Pacific countries for forwarders to pay bank guarantees and bonds to IATA in addition to individual airlines, and that every agent must fulfil IATA’s financial criteria.It added: “In terms of penalties, the CASS rules – which are again one-sided and decided by the CAC alone – remain a hanging sword over every agent. For example, even if an airline were to make an invoicing error, the agent would first have to pay the airline and then go for a correction, refund or credit, as the case may be.“CASS payment dates as set by CAC are cast in stone, having little regard for any local holidays of the country.“It’s pay or perish!”IATA issued a statement in response to the COMPAT ruling. It said: “It is incorrect to say that ACAAI has won the case against IATA. The COMPAT order is not against IATA. It only relates to the procedural infirmities committed by the CCI in its investigation and order and in no manner affects the merits of the case or contains any adverse findings as far as IATA is concerned.“As such, a reading of the operative part of the order would reveal that the order does not contain any observations in relation to allegations pertaining to violations of section 3(3) of the act as well as CASS.“It is unfortunate that we have been caught in this technicality between the COMPAT and CCI. Nonetheless we continue to extend our full co-operation so as to reach a quick and satisfactory resolution to this.”It added: “It is pertinent to note that the COMPAT order does not make any adverse findings in relation to IATA or any of its activities, including CASS. In fact, neither the CCI nor the COMPAT have ever ruled against IATA on the substance of ACAAI’s complaint in these proceedings.“CASS has also never been held to be anticompetitive in any jurisdiction.”last_img read more