Total US cargo screening by 2010 unlikely

US cargo-screening targets are becoming increasingly strained. The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) plans to have 100 per cent of all cargo carried in bellyholds of passengers planes to be screened by 2010.

However, Ed Kelly, TSA manager of air cargo, told a Congressional committee that the TSA would be unlikely to meet that target. He said that lack of technology and physical limitations at many airports were limiting the effectiveness of the TSA to meet the target.

The committee’s chairwoman, Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, said, “The push back…should be our last resort” and promised Congressional help for the TSA.

The Air Cargo Security Alliance has already proposed that the US government provide a US$400 million fund to subsidise the 100 per cent air cargo screening.

Under the proposal, the TSA should provide a pre-screening option for cargo agents paid for by a five-cent per pound surcharge.

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