Cargo Sales Agents

A Cargo Sales Agent should receive certificate from Civil Aviation and other related authorities, based on the local rules and regulations of the country and may:

  • Act as a representative of the airline to sell their services
  • Open office(s) and hire trained staff to perform duties
  • Provide necessary bank guarantee for the Airline
  • Receive Air Waybill stock from Airline
  • Have a warehouse to receive shipments from the shipper. Can perform Consolidation (section 4.10)
  • Receive ULDs from the airline and keep them in his warehouse
  • Load ULDs with different shipments, based on the rules of the Airline, deliver to GHA for onward carriage on Carrier’s flight
  • Declare shipment to customs on behalf of Shipper. It can be done in their own warehouse and receive the export license through system.
  • Present cargo to customs for physical checks
  • Prepare the sales report and pay the freight charges to Airline, based on the agreed rates,
  • Go into contract with Airline to have fixed weight on each flight, to one or more destination, for a certain period
  • Agree with Carrier to have ULD allocation on each flight and pay the freight charges on ULD basis. For example, one AKE on daily flights of Emirates Airline for 700 KG minimum weight of each AKE, from HKG to DXB and pay the airline for Minimum weight of 15 days X 700 KG = 10,500 KG cargo. This way, the Agent may enjoy better rate and can make use of dense cargo and volumetric shipments (Section 3.6.)
  • Do consolidation, issue House Air Waybill for shipments to enjoy better rates. (Section 10)

IATA Member Agents

Agent may be an IATA member. By joining IATA, the agent will enjoy different services of IATA in terms of receiving AWB stock and payment of freight charges to the airline.

A non-IAA Agent should provide an airline with appropriate bank guarantee depending on the volume of his business, to receive the AWB stock. After presenting the airline with proper Bank Guarantee (BG) airline will dedicate certain number of Air Waybills (AWB) to the agent. Agent may provide BG for different airlines to receive the AWB stock. Different Sales Reports should be prepared by Agent to declare and pay the freight charges to the Airline on monthly or fortnightly (15 days) basis. Same should be checked by the Airline for the correctness of the charges declared by each Agent.

IATA can help members to provide one Bank Guarantee (BG) and receive AWB stock from different Carriers. IATA will also help Agents and Airlines to prepare and control the Sales report by CASS system.

CASS – Cargo Accounts Settlement System

By joining IATA, agent will receive an IATA code and provide one BG for IATA. IATA will then introduce the agent to the airlines, to receive AWB stock and rates. This way, the Agent does not need to provide BG for the Airlines, as IATA guarantees the payment to the Airline, on behalf of the Agent.

Airline (Carrier) and Agent will agree on the rates applicable for carriage of cargo and IATA will receive a copy of this contract with applicable rates. Air Waybill for each shipment and all the necessary information of weight and…, will be received through different ways by IATA (like SITA messages). IATA will raise the invoice every fortnight or on monthly basis to the Agent and receive the freight charges from Agent and pay to the Airline, based on their agreement.

This is called CASS – Cargo Accounting Settlement System (or Service). It is a type of Clearing House (ICH) already explained (See Section 1.5.2. & 1.5.3.), that is designed for Settlement of Accounts between two Carriers who have Interline Agreement in different routes of each other. CASS facilitates settlement of accounts among Carriers and the Agents.  

In another words, Cargo Account Settlement Systems (CASS) is designed to simplify the billing and settling of accounts between airlines and agents. It operates through an advanced global web-enabled e-billing solution.

At the end of 2013, CASS was processing in 83 export operations, 11 import operations, 2 domestic operations, collectively serving over 500 airlines, GSAs and Ground Handling Companies and settling a combined $31 billion. The on-time settlement rate was 99.98%.

CASS replaces:

  1. a) Airlines’ traditional paper based invoicing
    b) Agents’ manual controlling of those invoices

Any market may host a CASS operation as long as there is enough volume, i.e., more than one airline/freight forwarder.

IATA agents join CASS at no cost whereas non-IATA agents or other intermediaries may join at a cost. All airlines are eligible to participate.