Experts: Proposed National Air Cargo Screening Bill Seen As Early Warning For Transportation Planners

ComSec International LLC, an independent provider of cargo screening services and consultation, recently has started advising shippers, carriers, freight forwarders and other companies involved in supply chain management to begin tentative planning for new federal air cargo screening requirements.

When passed, the Air Cargo Security Act proposed last week by Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA) extends the 100 percent requirement currently mandated for cargo being shipped on passenger flights to include all air cargo, whether shipped on cargo freighters or included on scheduled passenger service.

This move is essential to providing levels of safety that begin to align with current threats being made to the U.S. economy by the targeting of the freight industry, according to cargo security professional Jason Watson.

“For a host of reasons, air cargo is viewed as a viable in-road by those who would cause damage to our nation and its residents,” said Jason Watson, a cargo security consultant and cofounder of ComSec International. “We’ve known that plans have been in the works for some time to advance air cargo security measures and, with this action, the time is right for supply chain professionals to start considering their approach to meeting demands for increased security.”

Under the Markey bill, the Department of Homeland Security is being directed to address three key areas of dedicated air cargo shipping:

  • Creation of a set of regulations for screening 100 percent of cargo transported on all-cargo aircraft within three years, achieving 50 percent of all cargo being screened within 18 months of passage of the legislation .
  • Establishment of a system for the regular inspection of shipping facilities and associated security procedures for the handling of air cargo transported on all-cargo planes to ensure that appropriate security controls, systems, and protocols are being used.
  • Creation of arrangements with government authorities of foreign countries ensuring that inspections are conducted on a regular basis at shipping facilities for cargo being transported by air to the United States.

“Historically, the air cargo industry has been dominated by the creation and management of complex scheduling activities and the safe, efficient and effective operation of aircraft in the long-haul transit of cargo. Experience suggests that the assignment of stopping terrorist activity in the air cargo component of the supply chain calls for an innovative solution from the private sector that ties directly into the highly collaborative end-to-end cargo transportation system,” said Watson.

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