Markey introduces new legislation for all-cargo plane screening
December 18, 2010
WASHINGTON D.C—Massachusetts Representative Edward D. Markey (D) introduced legislation last month requiring 100 percent screening of all cargo on cargo planes. This legislation follows the October attempts by terrorists to send explosives originating from Yemen to the United States on cargo and passenger planes.
In his bill, entitled the Air Cargo Security Act, Markey proposes:
• developing a system to screen 100 percent of cargo transported on all-cargo aircraft within three years, with half of the cargo screened within 18 months;
• establishing a system for the regular inspection of shipping facilities for shipments of air cargo transported on all-cargo planes for purposes of ensuring that appropriate security controls, systems, and protocols are well-observed; and
• entering into agreements with government authorities of foreign countries to ensure that inspections are conducted on a regular basis at shipping facilities for cargo transported in air transportation to the United States.
Air cargo security is far from new for Markey. He played a large role in drafting H.R. 1, Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007, which required the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish a system to screen 100 percent of cargo transported on passenger aircraft commensurate with the level of security used for unchecked baggage.
This measure, which went live on August 1, requires all air cargo to be screened at the piece level prior to transport on a passenger aircraft for flights originating in the United States, according to the Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Included in this endeavor is TSA’s Certified Cargo Screening Program (CCSP), which enables Indirect Air Carriers (IACs), shippers, and Independent Cargo Screening Facilities (ICSFs) to screen cargo for flights originating in the U.S.
According to TSA, most shippers involved in CCSP have readily incorporated physical search into their packing/shipping operation at minimal cost without needing to invest in screening equipment.
Since the Yemem terrorists’ attempt to send explosives into the U.S., the White House and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have issued a number of steps to augment security and tighten existing measures pertaining to U.S.-bound cargo.
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.
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