Reaction to New TSA Rules for Air Forwarders

Among other recommendations suggested by the NCBFAA is that TSA use a phased-in compliance period much as has been done by U.S. Customs and Border Protection with the Food and Drug Administration regulations. NCBFAA says that this phase-in period could be as short as 90 days from final approval of the new rules.

The association argues that this time would be needed by TSA to educate its own personnel – not only air forwarders and contractors – about the new regulations. Too, the three months would allow development and implementation of new systems and training for all.

Since the suggested new rules propose that air forwarders be “held accountable for securing the goods entrusted to them throughout [the] legs of the supply chain for which they are responsible,” NCBFAA notes that forwarders don’t have complete control of cargo moves – particularly under House Air Waybills (HAWBs) – “it would be inappropriate for TSA to automatically penalize forwarders for conduct over which they had no realistic control.”

As noted on the Administration’s web site (, the new regulations are aimed at:

“• Creating a new mandatory security regime for domestic and foreign air carriers in all-cargo operations using aircraft with a maximum certificated take-off weight of more than 100,309 pounds.

• Creating requirements for foreign air carriers in all-cargo operations with aircraft having a maximum certificated take-off weight of more than 12,500 pounds but no more than 100,309 pounds.

• Creating Security Threat Assessments on individuals with unescorted access to cargo.

• Enhancing existing requirements for indirect air carriers (freight forwarders).

• Codifying and further strengthening the Known Shipper program, which requires regulated parties to comply with a broad range of security requirements to qualify shippers as “known.” (Since 9/11, TSA has taken several steps to enhance the program, including the establishment of a centralized database.)

Affected parties will be domestic aircraft and airport operators and indirect air carriers, and foreign aircraft operators.”

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