Germany to hike cargo security fees

GERMANY is planning to introduce a new air cargo security surcharge. The German Transportation and Interior Ministries, which are currently investigating ways to increase air cargo security and how to pay for those changes, are concerned at recently revealed gaps in security.

“With all measures that could contribute to increasing air cargo security, of course the question of covering the costs, for instance through fees, needs to be examined,” the Interior Ministry stated.

While the details have not been finalised yet it is likely that the surcharge will not only be on cargo entering and leaving the country but also on any that route through German airports.

Thomas de Maizière (right), Germany’s interior minister, has taken increasing air security as his personal crusade ever since the Yemen-originated parcel bomb’s destined for the US passed through Germany undetected and were only stopped en route in the UK.

At a meeting in Spain between Janet Napolitano, the US Secretary of Homeland Security, and European ministers in January 2010 – recently revealed by Wikileaks – de Maizière revealed the EU and US’ concern at the ease with which terrorists could introduce explosives onto aircraft.

Commenting on the proposed surcharge, Lufthansa Cargo spokesman Michael Göntgens said: “Our security costs have increased tenfold since 2001. If the German government is considering a surcharge to cover costs for additional security measures, we all need to sit at the table to discuss the issue. Freight companies with their major hub in Germany, like us, need to be competitive.”

Thomas Lieb, chief executive officer of Schenker Logistics, agreed, saying: “A surcharge will make cargo more expensive and hurt industry” and insisting that Germany already had “very, very good security standards”.

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