Airforwarders Association calls on White House for global collaboration on air cargo security

Prior to this week’s G20 Summit in Seoul, Korea, the Washington, D.C.-based Airforwarders Association (AfA) sent a letter to President Barack Obama replete with suggestions on how the Administration could best work on making improvements and changes to air cargo security processes in light of the October attempts by terrorists to send explosives originating from Yemen to the United States on cargo and passenger planes.

By ·

Prior to this week’s G20 Summit in Seoul, Korea, the Washington, D.C.-based Airforwarders Association (AfA) sent a letter to President Barack Obama replete with suggestions on how the Administration could best work on making improvements and changes to air cargo security processes in light of the October attempts by terrorists to send explosives originating from Yemen to the United States on cargo and passenger planes.

In the letter, the AfA told President Obama that “[n]ow is the time to call upon the world’s leading trading partners to quickly develop a harmonized, risk-based air cargo security program.”

And with the theme of the G20 Summit being economic growth, the AfA letter explained that a key component in achieving that growth is ensuring efficient supply chains are in place to facilitate trade. The AfA said that this is imperative, considering that while air cargo represents only a tiny fraction of global trade tonnage, estimates are that fully one-third of the value of goods moving worldwide do so as air cargo.

What’s more, the AfA said that “imposing impulsive, ‘feel good’ solutions inevitably leaves gaps in the safety net which sooner or later may be exploited.”

A major step needed to help facilitate strong air cargo security, the AfA told President Obama, would be for the U.S. and its G20 colleagues to form an international working group to develop realistic, risk-based and multi-layered solutions to air cargo security.

“Calling for the screening of every box and parcel might initially appear effective, but only diverts focus, time, money and resources from more meaningful, risk based, proven multi-layered solutions,” said the AfA letter. “We don’t need more time and money wasted on ‘security theatre.’ Now is the time to invest in meaningful results.  With the G20, you have a unique setting to get that message across to our trading partners around the world.”

In an interview with LM, AfA Executive Director Brandon Fried said that he applauds recent steps taken by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration to work within a risk-based system of targeting cargo, as opposed to resorting to “extreme” 100 percent screening of every box that do little to improve security and only serves to just slow down commerce and threaten business.

Earlier this week, the White House and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a number of steps to augment security and tighten existing measures pertaining to U.S.-bound cargo.

DHS Security Janet Napolitano said in a statement that DHS has ordered a ground halt on all cargo shipments coming from Yemen, and she also said that TSA has directed air cargo carriers to begin implementing additional precautionary security measures for international flights inbound to the United States.

These measures include banning all air cargo from Yemen, as well as Somalia, along with no high-risk cargo to be allowed in passenger aircraft. They also include prohibiting toner and ink cartridges weighing more than 16 ounces on passenger aircraft in both carry-on bags and checked bags on U.S.-bound domestic and international flights. Napolitano said that this ban will also apply to certain inbound international air cargo shipments.

“[A]ll cargo identified as high risk will go through additional and enhanced screening,” said Napolitano. “These measures also impact inbound international mail packages, which must be screened individually and certified to have come from an established postal shipper. The Administration is also working closely with industry and our international partners to expedite the receipt of cargo manifests for international flights to the United States prior to departure in order to identify and screen items based on risk and current intelligence. We are also working with our international and private sector partners on the expansion of layered detections system including technology and other measures.”

The AfA’s Fried said that as these new requirements are being rolled out, the country needs to make sure non-technology measures, such as canine detection and commodity evaluation, must be employed, as well as focusing not only on the supply chain as has been done in the U.S. with the Certified Cargo Screening Program.

Commodity evaluation, explained Fried, examines things like who the shipper is, who the recipient is, what the cargo looks like, and other things that serve as potential “red flags” in a high-risk shipping environment.

“This is not a TSA problem only,” said Fried. “This is a global problem that requires a global solution where everyone gets together and solves the issue, and I think from my perspective to focus on it as the problem of just one country is really just not getting it right. It brings about the need to coordinate with international partners that is more effective than having a patchwork of bilateral agreements. Having accords that last for the duration of time and protects everyone flying on a plane regardless of destination of country is more effective.”


Click here for more Air Cargo stories.


Be sure to attend our Webcast:

2010 Warehouse/DC Benchmark Study
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 @ 2:00 p.m. ET

Join Group Editorial Director Michael Levans and the research team of Derek Sorensen and Norm Saenz from TranSystems as they put context behind this annual survey designed to give the market the most up-to-date snapshot of current activities and trends in warehouse and DC management.

2010 Warehouse/DC Benchmark Study

sponsored by:



About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
Download the Full 2017 Logistics Management Salary Survey
How does your earning power match up with your logistics and supply chain peers? Find out by downloading the full 2017 Salary Survey from Logistics Management
Download Today!
From the April 2017 Issue
Our “33rd Annual Salary Survey” reflects more diversity entering the logistics management market, and in marked contrast to 2016, paints a rosier outlook for career placement and advancement.
Is Your Tractor Trailer Yard a Black Hole?
Information Management: Wearables come in for a refit
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Maximize Your LTL Driver Adherence with Real-time Feedback
This webinar shows how companies are using real-time performance data to optimize the scheduling of their city fleets, as well as the routing of their standard, accelerated and time-critical shipments.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
2017 Salary Survey: Fresh Voices Express Optimism
Our “33rd Annual Salary Survey” reflects more diversity entering the logistics management...
LM Exclusive: Major Modes Join E-commerce Mix
While last mile carriers receive much of the attention, the traditional modal heavyweights are in...

ASEAN Logistics: Building Collectively
While most of the world withdraws inward, Southeast Asia is practicing effective cooperation between...
2017 Rate Outlook: Will the pieces fall into place?
Trade and transport analysts see a turnaround in last year’s negative market outlook, but as...