100% US screening only weeks away

With only weeks before the looming 1 August deadline for 100 per cent screening of air cargo carried on passenger aircraft in the US, the various participants in the entire air cargo-related supply chain may have prepared in varying degrees, but pretty much all await that fateful day with some trepidation. Karen E. Thuermer reports from Washington.

“There’s not going to be a meltdown in the supply chain” reassures Dave Brooks, president of American Airlines Cargo. But Brooks does concede there may be “a few headaches” initially, and unprepared shippers could face delays.

Overall, the Transportation Security Administration – the US government agency tasked with implementing the 100 per cent screening mandate, says US shippers met the 1 May interim goal of screening 75 per cent of cargo carried in the belly holds of passenger aircraft. But according to Brooks it’s “the remaining cargo to be screened that is going to be amongst the most challenging.

“It’s going to be the largest consignments, the consignments with the largest piece counts that will be the challenge and we have to be ready for that. The focus through all of this is compliance. We may not be happy with this law, but we’re at a point now that we have to show we’re complying 100 per cent, screening 100 per cent of the time,” he said in a roundtable webcast recently.

Similarly Ram Menen, Emirates SkyCargo divisional senior vice president, believes that for US carriers achieving 100 per cent screening will be quite challenging, he says acknowledging that his carrier’s operations in the US are small compared to American operators.“But, yes, it is achievable,” he adds.