TSA cargo screening deadline quietly takes effect
January 16, 2013 - LM Editorial
Last May, the United States Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) set a December 3, 2012 deadline requiring passenger air carriers to conduct 100 percent cargo screening on international inbound flights.
This deadline was a re-set from an original deadline of December 2, 2011, but TSA pushed it back in October 2011, and the new deadline quietly went into effect last December. A TSA spokesman told LM in a previous interview that the December 2012 deadline was firm and would allow the air cargo industry to screen U.S.-bound cargo by that date.
TSA officials said the screening requirement “builds additional risk-based, intelligence-driven procedures into the prescreening process to determine screening protocols on a per-shipment basis. This process, said TSA, requires enhanced screening for shipments designated as higher risk, while lower risk shipments will undergo other physical screening protocols.”
All international inbound air cargo on passenger aircraft will be required to undergo physical screening, explained the TSA spokesman. For security reasons, he said TSA does not disclose physical screening requirements and procedures.
Brandon Fried, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Airforwarders Association (AfA), told LM that the December 3 deadline came and went with little fanfare thanks to several countries screening import cargo to U.S. standards through the National Country Security Program (NCSP) and the airlines doing the job in those places where harmonized agreements do not exist. And several years after the enactment of the 911 Recommendations Act screening, all cargo, departing and arriving at US airports is now screened at 100 percent on the piece level, explained Fried.
“Here in the U.S., the goal became reality thanks in no small part to the Certified Cargo Screening Program, where off airport inspection by forwarders, shippers and other participants now accounts for over 60 percent of cargo tendered to carriers,” said Fried. “Still, we remain hopeful that the screening task will become more efficient when science allows and the TSA certifies the use of technology capable of screening single pallets and containers containing multiple commodities. We also encourage the TSA to allow the use of privately sponsored canines for use off airport by CCSP participants to perform screening.”
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