The Airforwarders Association called on Congress to work with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to implement a risk-based assessment program for securing inbound air cargo. International cooperation will be required to improve security, which necessitates a harmonized security program and one that is holistic in including passenger and all-cargo aircraft. Domestically, efforts already underway with TSA and CBP to share data and best practices must continue to achieve increases in security.
“Airforwarders and others in the air cargo industry have 100-percent commitment to safety and security, but that is the only instance when a percentage is appropriate in any discussion of cargo security,” said Brandon Fried, Executive Director of the Airforwarders Association. “We urge Congress to reject additional calls for 100-percent screening of inbound cargo. Instead, policymakers should enact a risk-based system for global air cargo security, as recommended by the supply chain and international partners.”
To improve air cargo security, the Airforwarders Association has developed a set of recommendations for consideration by Congress, including:
* Improving interagency cooperation: TSA and CBP are collaborating on practices and policies to streamline the international cargo security system. This must be expanded in both scope and substance and should also include the Department of State and Department of Commerce.
* Including intelligence and supply chain solutions: Airport screening should not be considered a first line of defense but instead an effective complement to solutions like CCSP and freight targeting from cargo manifests. These should be expanded to the all-cargo universe.
* Investing in additional methods and technologies for screening: Funds for developing technologies for screening and reviewing existing technology and procedures should be allocated immediately. The EU and other foreign carriers are using pallet screening technologies that the TSA has deemed inadequate.
* Encouraging interindustry cooperation and information sharing: For too long, those in the supply chain have been divided by their differences. CCSP brought shippers, passenger carriers and forwarders together and created solutions. The current effort must include all members of the international air cargo supply chain.
“We support the data sharing and dissemination recommendations outlined by TSA and CBP in their testimony today, and have begun working with the agencies to best implement them,” Fried said. “The air freight forwarding industry has worked to achieve new screening mandates and has been instrumental in implementing effective security programs for domestic cargo. Our cargo security has never been higher due to these efforts. We will continue to work with industry partners and the government to improve security.”