Teething problems in the US for new cargo screening requirements

By Damian Brett

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Air cargo is facing delays in the US after stricter screening requirements were implemented for freighter shipments at the start of the month.

New International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) rules mean that United Nation member states will be required to screen 100% of cargo before it is loaded on freighter aircraft, as they are currently required to do with belly freight.

Freight forwarder Flexport reported that the regulations are causing backlogs at some facilities.

It said that ground handlers are reporting longer lines for cargo throughput for export, as screening takes more time than anticipated.

“Some carriers left shipments behind to maintain flight schedule integrity,” it added in an update last week.

Brandon Fried, Airforwarders Association executive director, said that warehouses were beginning to fill up as the new regulation kicks in.

“Most freighter carriers are only accepting cargo that has been screened in advance, as many lack the warehouse capacity or are not prepared to perform the task efficiently if at all,” he said.

“As terminals begin to fill, freighter airlines are rejecting cargo. As a result, forwarders are being forced to make several return trips to airline handling facilities as carriers struggle with significant space constraints.”

Fried reiterated past calls for more clarity from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

“While the US freight forwarding community is implementing the new security rules for all-cargo aircraft screening, the lack of programme transparency between airlines and forwarders continues to create challenges.

“For example, many carriers are with new struggling with complex documentation requirements which is resulting in the rejection of shipments.

“Our engagement with the TSA is ongoing and the agency continues to hold weekly briefing calls. However, to reduce confusion and provide a better understanding of the actual implementation instructions, the agency must provide more precise guidance while allowing forwarders to access new requirements.”

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