Thursday, December 12, 2013

Air Cargo Screening and Security Technology Needs Beefing Up Say Freight Forwarders and Shippers

Detailed Position Paper Outlines Needs for the Future
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – The Global Air Cargo Advisory Group (GACAG) has encouraged International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) members to use standard international codes for screening technologies and protocols. Whilst stating its support of ICAO Annex 17 and its guidance material as the baseline documents for air cargo security, a recent position paper from the industry advisory group which represents the interests of such as the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA), the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Global Shippers’ Forum (GSF), and The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA), indicates that further work is necessary.

GACAG calls upon the ICAO to develop global standards and guidance referencing currently utilised screening requirements, such as explosive trace detection and the use of canines, as well as protocols. The paper states that screening technology needs to be effective, fast, reliable, automated and capable of screening different types, sizes and volumes of cargo and that technological development is required to both detect threats whilst taking on board the air cargo supply chain process and its constraints, and to develop approved protective and tamper-evident technologies to ensure suitable cargo security solutions are available.

Furthermore GACAG considers that full-flight simulation systems and cooling periods, such as holding cargo for 24 to 48 hours, are not, in themselves, acceptable screening methods for cargo unless supported by other technologies, including x-ray, explosive trace detection, and air sampling and goes on to highlight the importance of training, with Carolina Ramirez, Head, Secure Freight, IATA, and Chair of GACAG’s Security Task Force, commenting:

“We need standardised training on how to determine the most appropriate screening methodology to be applied for specific consignment types. Authorised operational staff must be properly trained and regularly tested on the correct and effective use of screening technologies and there must be a hierarchical structure of management support.

“The use of cargo screening technology should be to detect and deter acts of unlawful interference to cargo and mail to be loaded on an aircraft and to improve air cargo security. We recognise the need for a multi-layered approach to air cargo security. We advocate a risk assessment approach including advance electronic information risk assessment based on intelligence to better identify the appropriate screening methodology to be used.

“GACAG encourages cargo screening technology manufacturers to continue to innovate and provide solutions for technical screening, including screening of Unit Load Devices (ULDs) containing different types of cargo. We believe global standards will encourage manufacturers to make the necessary investment in new technologies.”