IATA calls for global coordinated cargo security

This post is a reprint from .  The issue is pretty serious that is why I copy/pasted it for further share.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called on security regulators around the world to work together in addressing the challenges related to cargo security and data collection.

IATA also unveiled plans to lead a global effort to build an airport checkpoint of the future, which will tighten security and ease passenger hassle.

Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s director general & CEO, said: “The events in Yemen have put cargo security at the top of our agenda. Airfreight drives the world economy. The products that we carry represent 35% of the total value of goods traded internationally. In 2009, airlines carried 26 million tonnes of international cargo. By 2014, that will increase to 38 million tonnes. Transporting these goods safely, securely and efficiently is critical.”

While Bisignani commended all the governments for their swift, coordinated and targeted response, he noted four principles to drive air cargo security programs:

Supply chain approach: The entire supply chain, from manufacturer to airport, has a responsibility for secure shipments. The supply chain approach must be driven by government and industry cooperation on investment, processes, technology and risk assessment. Many countries, including the UK and US, have advanced supply chain solutions. The industry is committed. IATA’s Secure Freight program is helping to promote this critical component of our cargo security efforts.

Technology: Airport screening cannot be our first line of defence but it is an effective complement to intelligence and supply chain solutions. Currently, there is no government-certified technology to screen standard size pallets and large items. There is some promising technology but it is taking far too long to move from the laboratory to the airport.  We must speed up the process.

E-freight: IATA’s e-freight program gives governments an important information tool. By converting around twenty freight documents to an electronic format, we are improving efficiency and providing the tool for accurate insight into who is shipping what and where. As the industry increases e-freight volumes, governments must expand the use of e-freight from inbound shipments to outbound as well, and use this data to intelligently manage freight security.

Risk: Industry has cooperated with governments to help mitigate risks identified through their intelligence operations. But effective solutions are not developed unilaterally or in haste. We have seen many cases where these have unintended consequences. It is still early days. Industry is cooperating with government directives on targeted actions for Yemen-origin cargo. If there are any longer-term adjustments required, we must do so with all the facts in hand with measures targeted to meet specific risks.

IATA called on regulators and industry to collaborate to modernise the forty-year-old airport screening process. IATA has a short- and long-term vision for the next generation checkpoint.  In the short-term, IATA is already working on concepts and a new process.

Bisignani said that personal items of clothing and toiletries are not the problem. The screening focus must shift from looking for bad objects to finding terrorists. To do this effectively, intelligence and technology are needed at the checkpoint. The enormous amount of data collected on passengers can help governments to identify risks.  The overall process must become much quicker and more convenient.

Data is critical to aviation security as its effective use helps governments to vet travellers and identify threats. Through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), governments agreed to global standards for data elements and a process to collect that information. Not all governments follow the standards, which are adding to the US$5.9 billion that airlines spend annually on security. It takes about US$1 million to build systems for each country with a non-standard data requirement. Adding just one non-standard element to data collection is a US$50,000 system cost. Bisignani highlighted concerns about new data requirements in India, China, South Korea and Mexico. “All these exceptions consume money and resources but none improve security or border control. The challenge is to work with governments to implement harmonised standards,” said Bisignani.

Bisignani also reported on progress during the year sparked by the failed terrorist attack on a Delta jet bound for Detroit on December 25th last year. In January 2010, IATA hosted a security summit in Geneva to launch a new era of industry-government cooperation and action. At the meeting, IATA and airline chief executives presented the US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and ICAO Director General Raymond Benjamin with five principles, and IATA presented five recommendations based on these principles:

  • Implement formal consultation with all airlines including non-US carriers
  • Refine existing emergency orders to address the international environment
  • Streamline the data collection process
  • Strengthen government-to-government outreach for greater harmonisation and coordination
  • Start developing a next generation checkpoint

“Over the past year, Secretary Napolitano and other government leaders have understood that working with industry is the only way forward. The US recently created an International Working Group for Aviation Security and the ICAO Executive Committee last month agreed that industry and government objectives should be aligned.  We have seen the start of a new era of cooperation.  But progress in words means nothing if there are no follow-up actions,” said Bisignani.

He concluded: “Defining coordinated security responses with collaboration between industry and government has made more progress in the last ten months than at any time since the tragic events of 2001. Governments and industry are now aligned with a common goal.  We must use this momentum to move from words and agreements, to actions and results.”

As I have pointed in the beginning the issue is very serious and I would like to hear your ideas, visions and comments on how this will influence the whole supply chain performance.

Your comments and arguments are more than welcome !

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