Quo Vadis Air Freight Security?

How will the landscape in cargo security look like in 2020, will we see an even more decentralized scheme? Are additional controls of transit shipments really indispensable? And how – if at all – will ACC3 practically work after becoming mandatory next summer?

Old style but efficient – physical examination of shipments at Hamburg-based JS-Industrieverpackungen  /  source: hs
Old style but efficient – physical examination of shipments at Hamburg-based JS-Industrieverpackungen / source: hs

These far reaching questions that demand robust solutions plus an array of other crucial topics related to security in air freight will be tabled on April 1, during Lufthansa Cargo’s sixth security conference held in Frankfurt. It’s a high-profile event that presumably 200-plus invitees will attend.

The list of speakers is just outstanding, seeing Wolfgang Ischinger in first place. Wolfgang, a former Secretary of State in Germany’s government and Ambassador to the U.S. and UK has gained a solid reputation in his role as Chairman of the Munich-held Security Conference. It will be highly interesting to hear from this expert what he has to say from a more holistic perspective about current and future global threats, including the challenges air freight is possibly facing.

Special guest, Wolfgang Ischinger / source: private
Special guest, Wolfgang Ischinger / source: private

The conference program itself offers insights into two major thematic blocks: 
A reviews of the last two years in air freight security,
Future challenges, tasks and trends.

As to the past it can be said that despite all warnings there have been no major disruptions of supply chains when both the regulated agent and known shipper concepts became mandatory within the EU. However, and this critical point is standing on the agenda, the practical implementations of the EU regulations still differ  from country to country. At some major airports within the EU the remote control of shipments by dogs - the so called Ras Cargo method - is allowed, whereas other national authorities have explicitly forbidden this easy to handle and cost-efficient procedure.

LH Cargo's Head of Security, Harald Zielinski / source: hs
LH Cargo's Head of Security, Harald Zielinski / source: hs

Regarding the future the electronic Consignment Security Declaration – e-CSD - is one of the issues speakers and panelists will get into deeper. This paperless and seamless control system has been tested in a number of selected markets, predominantly in the UK, Switzerland and Germany, with stunning results. Experts will elaborate on this issue further and deliver a broad overview. 

Another point to be tabled will be of more technical nature. The question to be debated is if producers are able to offer airlines, handling agents or forwarders any new and even more efficient X-ray machines, sniffers or similar tools in the coming years to detect hidden explosive devices in air freight. Although, from all what can be heard there don’t seem to be major inventions coming around the corner to enhance the technical efficiency of controls.

Finally, Lufthansa Cargo’s Head of Security Harald Zielinski will unveil a brand new project titled “knowledge creates cargo”. When asked about the contents of this topic Harald remained tight lipped but indicated that this is the largest and by far most comprehensive project ever developed by him and his team at Lufthansa Cargo.

It will be interesting to see what he’ll present to the participants.
The event will be concluded with a visit of Frankfurt’s soccer stadium, the home turf of local first league team Eintracht. This should be of particular pleasure of Harald,  who is a dedicated supporter of Eintracht Frankfurt.


Heiner Siegmund