Airfreight does not need 100 per cent scanning, says Shippers’ Voice

“KILLING the airfreight industry with draconian security procedures would be giving the terrorists a result they would long to see,” says Andrew Traill, managing partner of Shippers’ Voice, a logistics advocacy and information portal.

He says 100 per cent scanning of airfreight would not only harm international trade, it would be ineffective,

“The most effective way to detect and deter anyone intending to use airfreight to carry out an attack is through intelligence,” he says. “There are regulations now in the US and Europe, that require information about the freight, its origins and destination, the people handling it and its route to be sent in advance of its arrival.

“This means in practice that most air cargo carriers will not want to even take off before being sure that the freight they carry has been cleared by the security authorities.”

Traill says that enabling people in the chain to perform security checks and maintain the security through the transport chain, (themselves authorised to do so based on the systems and practices they deploy), is not a weakness of security but a strength.

“Provided the system is properly policed, this multi-tiered approach to security in air freight is far more effective than scanning everything, especially when we know the technology is not perfect, and watching the airfreight industry collapse under the weight of delays and excessive costs.”

He admits that some of these programmes are still being implemented around Europe and indeed elsewhere around the world. “But the industry and the authorities are getting their act together, and increasing the quantity, standard and variety of security procedures being implemented. Now is not the time to undermine these initiatives in any knee jerk reaction to the latest threat,” he says.

“The industry must be robust in its defence of current and developing practices or else risk facing unworkable, costly and pointless security measures which will be no better and possibly worse than what we have and are developing today.”

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