With 100 Percent Screening Deadline Met, Air Cargo Industry Eyes New Hurdles

Air cargo shippers and forwarders say the industry still has a long way to go in screening shipments after meeting a government mandate to screen 100 percent of all cargo on U.S. passenger aircraft by Aug. 1, according to a report in The Journal of Commerce.

Industry shipping executives say they fear the growing demand during the fall shipping season will press the limits of screening capabilities in coming months, including the ability to keep up this brisk screening pace integral to the time-sensitive nature of most air shipments.

"It's going to get much worse in the next few months," said Tom Lewandowski, manager of logistic operations for Geodis Global Solutions. "We may not even recognize a security delay versus a capacity delay."

In this week's Cover Story, The Journal of Commerce analyzes the elements that made meeting the Aug. 1 screening deadline achievable and examines the challenges still remaining for supply chain security.

On Aug. 1, air shippers and freight forwarders successfully moved to 100 percent screening of freight on U.S. passenger aircraft. Despite recent apprehension over potential delays, the transition went off smoothly and the air cargo industry has already moved onto the next hurdle.

Many pre-implementation concerns, such as the handling of high-value or sensitive items, were alleviated with the TSA's very successful Certified Cargo Screening Program, which has so far authorized 1,041 companies to screen their own cargo.

Although the TSA estimates 60 percent of inbound international cargo already is being scanned, an integrated, equivalent international screening network is the next step in supply chain security, with a target date of 2013.

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