Airforwarders call for risk-based approach to screening

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Air cargo must align its security programs and push for a more risk-based approach to screening if it is to maintain secure supply chains, Airforwarders Association (AfA) chief, Brandon Fried, told an IATA panel at its World Cargo Symposium on 26 April.

He said that the industry must present a united front, despite the sometimes disparate goals across the various segments of the supply chain, to streamline regulations in order to help foster cost-effective trade, said Fried.

He added: “The more we align, the simpler our lives will become, but we need to continue to push for this alignment – that’s why AfA engages with other associations as well as global regulators at every opportunity to make sure our voice is heard.”

Fried highlighted a discord between global aviation security programs, citing IATA’s recently implemented Preloading Advance Cargo Information (PLACI) program in the EU, which mirrors the US Air Cargo Advance Screening (ACAS) program.

With regulatory demands set to increase over the next five years, Fried said he expects to see increasing focus on cybersecurity issues, as well as greater emphasis on employee background checks and more stringent minimum standards.

Despite these expected increases in regulation, Fried said the AfA will continue to push for a more ‘risk-based’ approach to air cargo security.

“Our industry has done a great job over the past 15 years since putting the 9/11 Commission Act in place, which has led to a ‘shorter leash’ regarding inspection, compliance, and enforcement – but we must continue to meet these high expectations to avoid facing greater challenges,” said Fried.

“We hope to see new and better screening technology approved, such as advanced CT X-ray, as well as the wider use of canines as an efficient and effective cargo screening method.”

AfA also hopes to see the widespread adoption of EU canine screening programs, he added, which are capable of screening larger cargo pieces.

AfA is also working with the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on a roadmap for security to help untrained and inexperienced regulatory policy makers to fully understand all the nuances of a complicated industry, he added. “We are pushing to better align all US cargo security programs, and encouraging the TSA to help promote the Certified Cargo Screening Program (CCSP) within the shipper community.”

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