Thursday, December 16, 2010

Air Freight Industry Needs A Holistic View Of All Cargo Security

GACAG Plan to Beat the Bombers
Shipping News Feature

WORLD WIDE – A statement issued this week by the Global Air Cargo Advisory Group (GACAG) gives a considered view of what the air freight industry needs to safeguard against incidents such as those seen in October. GACAG is the new body made up of the main air freight and passenger carrier administrators as we reported in November and consists of the International Air Cargo Association (TIACA), International Air Transport Association (IATA), the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) and the Global Shippers Forum (GSF).

The new group have now issued a comprehensive paper outlining how they feel the air freight industry should react to the threat of attack by hostile interests. The statement outlines that recent developments have raised the importance of security protocols, especially risk assessment. GACAG has decided to focus its efforts to enhance the security of the air cargo supply chain in a manner that results in the minimum possible disruption to the vital flow of commerce.

The group acknowledges the need for a cohesive set of parameters, consistent with ICAO Annex 17, to be employed by all partner member states which can mutually recognise a common standard. They feel that cargo security should be viewed on a holistic basis incorporating general cargo, express cargo, mail and baggage shipped as cargo, encompassing both freighter and combination aircraft, the latter having caused such concern to press and public alike so recently.

GACAG also feels that cooperation between the air freight industry and state governments to be a priority, with the establishment of mutually agreed fundamental security principles and procedures and ever open lines of communication insisting supply chain security must be the overriding factor in any regulatory approach.

Higher risk cargo should be properly defined and national and regional regulators should adopt ICAO definitions and standards on an urgent timetable. Protocols for transhipped cargo should take into account screening that was performed prior to the original flight, all parties should follow the international standard set by the World Customs Organization, who issued their own communiqué on advance cargo information this week, to facilitate risk-assessment and industry and government should jointly develop and endorse a standard electronic cargo security declaration process and its associated paper layout.

It is essential for the safety of all involved and their peace of mind, no matter where or when they fly, that the fledgling advisory body shows it can punch its not inconsiderable weight and pull together all the disparate bodies involved to achieve its very worthwhile aims.