Inspections would bring US air cargo to a halt, warns forwarders’ chief

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Any moves towards 100% physical inspection of pharma packages in the US to tackle the fentanyl crisis would grind air cargo operations to a halt, warns executive director of the Airforwarders Association, Brandon Fried.

Instead, government should use advanced data analysis and detection technologies to target suspicious shipments without impeding the flow of commerce, he told delegates at the CNS Partnership Conference in Dallas on 15 April.

Fentanyl is a powerful painkilling drug but it has also been implicated in a surge of drug overdose deaths in the US.

Fried said: “The air cargo industry is keenly aware of the devastating impact of the fentanyl crisis on the US and many countries worldwide. We understand the urgency to prevent the flow of illicit substances across borders and we are committed to working alongside government authorities to identify red flags and support efforts to stop these dangerous materials.

“However, we must resist calls for 100% physical inspection of packages, an approach which would grind air cargo operations to a halt, disrupting legitimate trade and harming the global economy.

“By working together, we can hold bad actors accountable while ensuring the smooth and efficient movement of legitimate goods.”

Fried said that, as well as a missing commitment to adopting new technology, there was an ongoing lack of investment in infrastructure in the US.

He added: “Without significant investment and operational improvements, we face severe challenges with ongoing congestion at airports, and without a collaborative approach to stopping illicit materials, countless lives remain at risk.”

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