EUROPE: Congress doubts ¡®known shipper¡¯ programme

The air cargo industry needs to come up with a credible security regime if it is to avoid more stringent screening legislation from the US Congress, Rob Bonner, the former commissioner of US Customs warned the TIACA Executive Conference in Cologne in mid-March. Bonner, held his post from 10 September 2001 until 2005, and was […]


The air cargo industry needs to come up with a credible security regime if it is to avoid more stringent screening legislation from the US Congress, Rob Bonner, the former commissioner of US Customs warned the TIACA Executive Conference in Cologne in mid-March.

Bonner, held his post from 10 September 2001 until 2005, and was responsible for putting in place advanced cargo manifesting, the C-TPAT (Customs-Trade Partnership against Terrorism) programme which now has some 8,000 companies as members, and an automated threat assessment system.

He told delegates that members of Congress still had “serious reservations” about the Known Shipper programme, and there was “a real danger” that Congress would try and impose 100 percent physical screening on air cargo.

An attack on a commercial aircraft would also have “signifi cant consequences” for air cargo with the security regime in its present state, Bonner said, possibly sparking knee-jerk reactions from the US authorities.

By contrast he reckoned that the system in place for maritime freight, which includes C-TPAT, inspections of shipments before they leave the port of origin, and tamper-proof seals on containers, was probably robust enough not to be called into question after a terrorist incident.