Proposed air cargo screening bill brought into the spotlight again

2012 03 06

US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says that her department's priority this year will be to continue to encourage a US economic recovery through the efficient, yet secure, movement of people and goods across its national borders.

A pledge that is expected to have direct bearing on security measures for the air freight industry, which is proving an on going controversy.

A report by Air Cargo World cited Ms Napolitano as saying in her annual department address that a risk-based approach should be the guiding principal of proposed trusted-shipper programmes and future cargo regulations.

According to Ms Napolitano, international partnerships and air cargo information sharing are becoming as important as the actual physical screening of air cargo itself.

The best hope for the industry, the report claims, is the voluntary Air Cargo Advanced Screening programme, which is now in its pilot phase and accepts advanced electronic bills of lading data from forwarders and carriers in order to identify in advance of entry high-risk cargo. The ACAS pilot establishes lines of communication with forwarders and carriers in order to provide shipment data about air cargo destined for the US.

The ACAS pilot programme has three phases. The first phase reviewed shipment information from express carriers. The next phase concentrates on scanning data from passenger airlines and forwarders, and the third phase focuses on data submitted by all-cargo airlines, it said.

It added that despite the ACAS programme having no existing mandate through regulation, legislation has been proposed by Congress to require the advanced screening of shipment data before departure. There is also talk of a proposed rule that may be introduced by the end of the year.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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