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TSA cargo screening scheme meets needs of big rather than small firms

SCREENING all cargo on freighters becomes mandatory from June 30 according to the UN's International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), but the US Transportation Security Agency's (TSA) plans to allow shippers to screen cargo on their own premises has puzzled the industry, reports London's Loadstar

21 January 2021 - 19:00
SCREENING all cargo on freighters becomes mandatory from June 30 according to the UN's International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), but the US Transportation Security Agency's (TSA) plans to allow shippers to screen cargo on their own premises has puzzled the industry, reports London's Loadstar.

The ICAO allows member countries to draw up regimes that enable shippers to bypass airport screening by maintaining a level of security at their facilities equivalent to that at the airport, said the report.



Now the TSA has signalled that it intends to develop a framework for 'secure packing facilities' that will be subject to audits and inspections by the agency.



The TSA has revealed its plans to industry stakeholders, but participants were frustrated as the programme would meet the needs of a small group of big players like Amazon, but not most air cargo users, said the report.



There is also widespread lack of understanding why TSA is bent on developing a 'resource consuming, with not much benefit to most participants', rather than expanding the Certified Cargo Screening Programme (CCSP), established to screen bellyhold cargo.



This scheme, which has an estimated 500-700 participants, was developed for the benefit of shippers as well as forwarders and other parties that do not want to subject their freight to airport screening.



'It's still an option for shippers to join CCSP. That's what CCSP was designed for,' said one executive. 'I'm not sure this [the TSA proposal] is all necessary. I believe the solutions are there. This just creates confusion.'


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