Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Air Cargo Screening Costs for Freight Agents Come Under New Management

Security Oversight Transfers from DfT to CAA
Shipping News Feature

UK – Following several months of testing the new arrangements, last week saw the responsibility for certain aspects of air cargo security transfer from the Department for Transport (DfT) over to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). A joint statement announcing the changes came in the form of a letter to all stakeholders describing how all processes had involved staff ‘shadow running’ and ensuring teams were in place prior to the official switchover. The most relevant part of the move to freight and logistics companies is that the CAA will now bear all responsibility for compliance inspections and enforcement activity.

Both the DfT and the CAA insist that there will be no significant visible changes in the regulatory and compliance monitoring processes and many staff will simply continue in their current roles. The CAA will also help define current and future security requirements to the Secretary of State and keep those involved in the industry advised of how to conform to these whilst arranging security vetting for those who need it.

The change also means that henceforth the costs which the CAA incurs as a result of these new duties will be passed on to ‘those whom it regulates’, in other words rather than the taxpayer picking up the tab as previously, these costs will now fall under the ‘user pays’ principle. The new charges scheduled are available to view here and for example the cost of applying to be a regulated agent to screen cargo will now be £1,440.

The changes come at a time when the CAA is seeing a major shift in its areas of responsibility. The same day the security changes came into effect also saw the inception of a new unit to regulate general aviation, an area which CAA boss Andrew Haines has admitted has been managed in a disproportionate fashion in the past.