Fresh doubts raised over US cargo screening

THERE is fresh doubt over whether the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and aviation industry will manage to meet the August deadline to screen all cargo on passenger jets.

The TSA admitted to a Congress sub-committee in March that there was no possibility of meeting the 100 per cent screening of all international cargo, but assured it that the target of screening all domestically sourced belly hold cargo would be achieved.

Speaking to Congress this week, John Sammon, TSA assistant administrator for transportation sector network management, said that the most likely date would now be 2013, but reaffirming the meeting of the August deadline.

However, government auditors are not so convinced. Investigators found that while the TSA had managed to increase some of its targets, there was still much room for improvement and also points of concern.

“TSA faces several challenges in developing and implementing a system to screen 100 per cent of domestic air cargo, and it is questionable, based on reported screening rates, whether 100 per cent of such cargo will be screened by August 2010 without impeding the flow of commerce,” auditors wrote in their report.

Areas of concern included: shipper participation in the voluntary screening program being lower than expected; not finishing a study to establish the numbers of inspectors needed; no approved technology to screen large pallets or containers of cargo; and not confirming that the data supplied by shippers involved in the programme is authentic.

Share this story