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Safety and security in air transport IATA informs its members

For this second annual conference dedicated to mail & air-cargo security, CONEX reinforced its presence by being the sole sponsor of the event and by sending Lance THOMPSON to present the pertinent international norms in this field. A brief summary of what’s to come in air cargo.

ACAS (Air Cargo Advanced Screening) held a key place. This program will necessitate filing the “House” level declarations to customs and the department of transport so they can perform corresponding risk analysis. These declarations will need to be sent before the merchandise is loaded in order to allow any eventual “Do-Not-Load” messages to be sent… The pilot project in the United States continues; the carrier is identified as the responsible party for sending these declarations even though the industry does not want this. As merchandise will need to be stocked somewhere after the declaration is sent and until the green light is obtained, the carriers are not equipped to respond to such wait-times. US Customs has responded to this by allowing other parties to submit the information, but in the end, the carrier remains responsible for the filing. The European Union plans to start a quasi-identical program, but foresees problems similar to those met within the ICS (Import Control System) implementation: multiplicity of computer systems, protocols, applications of the law, etc.

At the same time, the 100% scanning for all imports into the US, law decided directly by the US Congress in 2007, is still valid and remains completely dissociated from these new ACAS rules. The 100% scanning law goes into technical details on how the merchandise is to be scanned, much more technical than most other comparable laws. All air cargo should be responding to these obligations since December 3rd 2012.

The AEO Mutual Recognition agreement signed between the US and the EU in May 2012 was presented under several angles. (see Conex article of September 2012: Other important difference to note between the two systems is that the certifications in the US are given to the head offices which cover all subsidiaries. There was also confirmation during the conference, as outlined in the above-mentioned article, that the MID can only be used by manufacturers/exporters (and not by transport companies, freight forwarders, purchasing centers…).

Looking forward, the next challenge for airlines flying to Europe will be to conform to the ACC3 Rules (Air Cargo or Mail Carrier operating into the Union from a Third Country Airport). According to this legislation, all airlines will need to put into place safety and security procedures equivalent to those applicable to airlines across Europe – and this must be certified by a third-party certifier before July 2014 for each hub they fly out of going to the EU. Sounds like there is still plenty of time? Not so sure for each airline when you consider that each point of departure across the world will need to be certified (and can therefore represent between 1 and 500 sites for each airline) and there will probably be a limited number of certifying institutes. CONEX is closely following these evolutions in view of bringing a concrete contribution.

Finally, IATA called upon governments to approach these security questions pragmatically. They suggest harmonizing as much as possible, collaborating with the private sector and use international standards whenever possible. On this last point, Lance THOMPSON, International Development Manager with CONEX actively participated on a round table on international standards and their role in this field. He pointed out that security declarations are implemented nationally by customs and that the role of service providers such as CONEX is to respond to these national obligations – very few customs administrations use international norms. That said, CONEX participates regularly in the works of key international organisms such as UN/CEFACT and the WCO in order to follow the evolutions and bring the best possible service and advice to its clients.