Monday, November 9, 2015

New Cargo Screening Regulations Affect Entire Air Freight Industry

Discussions on Future Standard Procedures Under Way
Shipping News Feature
BELGIUM – WORLWIDE – Last week Brussels saw a three-day meeting in which the World Customs Organization (WCO)/ International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Joint Working Group on Advance Cargo Information (JWGACI) met with a delegation from The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) when the proposed New Advance Data screening regulations which will affect the entire air freight industry were thoroughly discussed.

The Group is working towards standard procedures and protocols for future Advance Data programs globally with the EU and US programs closest to implementation, with the EU inbound program (PRECISE) effective beginning in May 2016. The US program (ACAS) is expected to issue its Notice of Rulemaking in 2016, providing industry further opportunity to comment.

Once implemented every individual shipment moving into or passing through countries with Advance Cargo programs will be required to be thoroughly analysed in advance of loading by the destination or transit government to assess risk. Additional screening requirements will be issued if necessary.

In March 2015 TIACA published a position paper on Pre-Loading Advance Cargo Information (PLACI) in which it offered the views of its members on the subject. It outlined what it called the ‘7+1’ data set in which the 7 represented the most vital elements declared on the house air waybill i.e. the number of pieces, total weight, general cargo description, shipper name, shipper address, consignee name, and consignee address, the 1 being the waybill number itself.

These common factors are all declared at an early stage in the supply chain and therefor more easily checked and confirmed by the relevant authorities with the ability to identify potential risks. TIACA’s concerns are to ensure that the programmes in each geographical area match up and that there is only the necessity to input the essential data once, at, or before the commencement of the shipment. TIACA also illustrated to the regulators the need to allow dual filing, that is that forwarders, and the airlines themselves, have the ability to input data, and also that smaller forwarders were not shut out of the process.

Of course one essential element in tying all the international schemes together will be the agreement of common criteria, not the easiest thing to achieve one imagines. What is for certain, particularly in the light of the recent Russian airline disaster in Egypt and the questions it has raised, is that more levels of security are bound to be introduced and the Advance Cargo Information programmes will become a mandatory feature on most, if not all, routes.