We don’t read much about it during the past months, but air cargo security is still a subject of much discussion within the airline industry and among government representatives the world over. Some might maintain that not much is happening on improving security as there have been no bad incidents lately which would force the debate back on line. Not so in the United States it seems!
H.R. 4176 coming into action
The above is the short name allocated to the United States Air Cargo Security Improvement Act which was recently signed off by the U.S. House of Representatives.
Basically, the Act “establishes the air cargo security division within the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to carry out all air cargo security policy and stakeholder engagement.” This is laid out by the U.S. Homeland Security Committee. The American authorities are still convinced that although various attempts to breach air cargo security have been foiled; that there is still a real danger that further attacks will be attempted on passenger planes carrying air freight.
Feasibility study needed
The committee goes a step further by insisting that the TSA Administrator should bring into motion a feasibility study and start a pilot project on how best to use computed tomography (CT) and other upcoming technology systems in order to further enhance air cargo screening processes and aim at making them watertight. The Known Shipper Programme has also come under closer scrutiny. A complete review of the Certified Cargo Screening Programme (CCSP) has also been ordered.
The Air Cargo Security Improvement Act is not just something which has popped up out of the blue. It comes on the back of various suggestions and recommendations which were listed in the 2017 Committee on Homeland Security report which was laid before the House of Representatives.
All should be involved
The Certified Cargo Screening Programme (CCSP) in the United States is basically the same as what is being implemented by many other countries across the globe. There are also some members of the U.S. air cargo industry who today state that the existing CCSP lacks constant updating and that there is not enough money being allocated to improving it in order to be ahead of future threats. One small example is the use of dogs as “sniffers,” - something which has not come across in the U.S. and now maybe will do.
The old question remains as to how the U.S. authorities will and can communicate and coordinate changes with other countries. Without this, the security aspect remains in some areas as being rather one sided and ineffective. This applies just as well to other countries’ exchange of ideas with their American colleagues.
John Mc Donagh