‘Business as usual’ for air cargo

Date: Thursday, January 24th, 2019
Source: American Shipper

Forwarders said air cargo shipments keep moving, despite the government shutdown.

“Unlike passenger screening, which is handled almost exclusively by TSA personnel, cargo screening is accomplished in the private sector in a unique public/private partnership, so airlines, forwarders and independent screening entities work together under strict TSA oversight to screen 100 percent of cargo flown on passenger flights,” said Brandon Fried, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Airforwarders Association.

“As a result, we have not seen any meaningful slowdown in freight movement and, of course, it helps that January tends to be a slower time of year for cargo volumes,” he said.

Despite the federal government shutdown, security remains front and center for the air cargo industry, Fried said.

However, air freight forwarders are experiencing some delays with regards to TSA managerial support services, particularly in obtaining policy interpretations and application and routine renewal requests, which could become problematic if the shutdown continues, he said.

The Airforwarder Association’s members are facing the impacts of the shutdown with other federal agencies involved with trade, such as the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security which issues export licenses. “If export licensing is delayed, so to will some critical shipments that cannot travel without the required credentials,” Fried said.

The association will hold its annual AirCargo conference in Las Vegas on Feb. 10-12.

Fried said the association’s primary focus for 2019 includes working with TSA and Customs and Border Protection on the ongoing implementation of the Air Cargo Advanced Screening (ACAS) requirement, and the recently initiated Third Party Privatized Canine Screening Program.

The Airforwarders Association will also participate in the Aviation Security Advisory Committee, authorized by Congress to advise TSA on screening technology improvements and a review of the Known Shipper Program.

In addition, Congress mandated the reopening of the TSA Air Cargo Division, “where we plan to spend lots of time dealing with critical issues and providing much needed ongoing industry feedback,” Fried said.

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