Air Cargo Security
Air Cargo Security
Transportation of goods by air has become an important aspect of modern transport and the current economy. Many businesses participate in production and distribution of fast moving goods that require safe and quick delivery. With the growth and the rapid expansion of the global economy, there is a need for safe and apt delivery of cargo. Air cargo accounts for a large portion of the factors driving international trade, not to mention the dependence of airlines on the transportation of cargo. This adds to the growing significance of cargo transport. The biggest threat to cargo transport is terrorism. Loopholes in security systems of cargo transport result in devastating effects on the international economy and loss of life and property (Buzdugan, 2005).
There are three critical security regulations for air cargo operations in the United States. The first requires the use of less stringent measures in the air cargo transportation. The legislation referred to as the Aviation Security Improvement, asserts that the Transport Security Administration (TSA) exercises their role in the ‘screening of all cargo being carried on commercial passenger aircrafts (Crowley & Butterworth, 2005).’ This is to be a vital element of cargo transport. The Congress gives high regard to the security of air cargo in this regulation. However, for this to succeed, the approach used in ensuring the success of the legislation must be sustainable and achievable.
The second regulation anticipates an increased amount of cargo inspected every year. This aims at achieving 100 percent inspections over time. The Transport Security Administration has the mandate of analyzing risk assessments associated with the inspection of air cargo. Exceptions to inspections include hazardous substances, human remains and diplomatic pouches.
Perhaps the most important legislation is the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007 (Crowley & Butterworth, 2005). The legislation requires that all the aircrafts originating from the United States undergo 100 percent inspection within three years since they commenced flying. The regulation aims to “employ equipment, technology, procedures, and personnel to inspect air cargo to an echelon of security equivalent to the level of passenger checked baggage (Crowley & Butterworth, 2005).”
The main issue that faces neglect in these regulations is the inspection and screening. The difference between the two is essential in ensuring the security of cargo based transport. Inspection refers to intensive physical examination of cargo to make certain that it does not have a bomb or any dangerous contraband attached to it. Screening, on the other hand, simply refers to reviewing information and inspection of a portion of the cargo. Screening results in unsecured cargo, which presents a great opportunity for terrorists to bomb an airliner. Properly done inspection increases confidence. It is also necessary to scan items with modern and specialized explosive detection systems. Manual inspection, sniffing dogs, and trace detectors, are some of the efficient methods of bomb identification (Turrión, 2011).
The threat to air cargo transport is real. The capability of a terrorist network to infiltrate the transport system will reduce only through the improvement of policies that govern air cargo transport, such as the screening and inspection aspects of the regulations. International cargo should be the highest priority of the Transport Security Administration. The vulnerabilities of air transport need to be reduced, and necessary measures put in place to curb terrorist activity. The importance of security in air cargo transport cannot be overstated, and this should be the main agenda of every airline company.
Buzdugan, M. (2005). Current and emerging air cargo security and facilitation issues. Montreal, Canada: McGill University Publishers.
Crowley, P. J. & Butterworth, B. R. (2007). Keeping Bombs off Airplanes: Securing Air Cargo, Aviation’s Soft Underbelly. Washington, DC: Centre for American Progress.
Turrión, P. (2011). Air cargo security. Hauppauge, N.Y: Nova Science Publisher’s.