AMERICAS: US forwarders say screening hurdles remain

Testifying recently before a US congressional sub committee , the executive director of the US Airforwarders Association (AFA), Brandon Fried, acknowledged progress had been made on screening cargo in the belly holds of passenger aircraft, but warned three primary challenges still faced the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) aim of 100 per cent screening bythe August […]


Testifying recently before a US congressional sub committee , the executive director of the US Airforwarders Association (AFA), Brandon Fried, acknowledged progress had been made on screening cargo in the belly holds of passenger aircraft, but warned three primary challenges still faced the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) aim of 100 per cent screening bythe August 2010 deadline.

“Serious issues have yet to be resolved, including the lack of approved pallet screening technology, ongoing financial barriers to participation, and the future of air cargo security policy in general,” Fried said.

Funding beyond that provided to pilot programme participants for the purchase of technology is the biggest issue according to the AFA. The association acknowledged that various options are available, including airline screening, independent screening, consortiums, and hand screening, but said “capital should not be a deterrent to those in search of advanced, in-house security programmes.”

“We support a variety of options for screening of cargo on passenger planes, but those must be options that work,” Fried added. “They must offer affordable alternatives, which is best ensured through marketplace competition; must be efficient in terms of rapidly screening cargo through the facility in order to ensure cut off times are maintained; and they must be effective by allowing warranties and cargo integrity to remain intact while assuring security.”