U.S. State Department Involvement Critical to Improve Air Cargo Security

Air cargo security efforts must be focused on multi-layered solutions that include common international standards for ensuring the safety of air cargo shipments, editors of The Journal of Commerce said.

"The U.S. Transportation Security Administration, with the cooperation of industry, has done an outstanding job of implementing screening requirements for air cargo in the United States," according to The Journal of Commerce Editorial Director Paul Page. "But security standards around the world vary widely, and the TSA has faced enormous hurdles in convincing other countries to share their cargo security programs and meet the standards implemented in the United States and other countries that figure prominently in global air commerce.

"The U.S. State Department should be working with the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that the security of today's global supply chains get the highest attention of governments around the world."

A terror alert in response to the discovery of explosive devices from Yemen in international air cargo networks has legislators calling for more urgent air cargo screening solutions. The challenge in determining longer-term adjustments will be balancing hasty reactionary measures with available resources and requirements that don't impede global commerce.

On Aug. 1, air shippers and freight forwarders successfully met the Transportation Security Administration's mandate for 100 percent screening of freight on passenger flights within and from the United States.

The Journal of Commerce held a webcast on U.S. air cargo security requirements in September and an archive of that webcast, which included insight from officials at the TSA and major industrial shippers and was moderated by Associate Editor Bob Edmonson, is available here: http://tinyurl.com/aircargoscreeningwebcast

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