Screening bottlenecks set to ‘cause chaos’

WITH the implementation deadline for 100 per cent screening of bellyhold cargo looming, carrier executives are warning of screening bottlenecks next summer unless large numbers of forwarders get certified under the US administration’s air cargo security programme.Their clarion call comes just as the Transportation Security Agency’s approach to air cargo security itself has come under fire from inside the administration in Washington, raising the spectre of further rule changes in the US airfreight security regime.“Forwarders are not ready (for the August 2010 deadline for 100 per cent screening),” declared Neel Shah, vice-president of cargo at Delta Air Lines. He urged cargo agents to join the Certified Cargo Screening programme. “If they don’t, they’re going to face massive bottlenecks,” he warned.Mark Najarian (right), vice-president of operations at American Airlines Cargo, agreed that not enough forwarders have gone for CCSP certification. “For those who do not give us screened cargo the rules of engagement with us will be completely different – for service parameters, service delivery standards, plus cost,” he said.British Airways is beginning to hit forwarders in the wallet. It notified customers in the US that effective 21 December, it is levying a screening charge of five cents per kilo of actual weight for US export cargo that arrives at its facilities without prior screening.DHL Global Forwarding, which has joined the CCSP camp, is currently screening 85-90 per cent of its cargo headed for belly carriers, but this has only been possible because of the sharp drop in volume,” remarked Gary Schultheis, vice-president of airfreight, the Americas.“If the volume picks up, this will be a headache. If we moved back to 2007 volumes, the entire industry would suffer,” he warned.
For the full story read the latest issue of Air Cargo News, dated 18 December. To subscribe, click on ‘Subscribe’ above.

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