Packaging and Inspection Are Air Cargo Concerns

With committees in both houses of the US Congress considering freight transportation security legislation, shippers are being urged to weigh in on issues concerning screening, physical examination, and physical search.

"Us and reliance on physical inspections would have unintended consequences resulting in a diversion of finite resources as well as irreparable harm to shipments that in many cases may legitimately be characterized as low risk," said Peter Gatti, executive vice president of the National Industrial Transportation League (NITL).

NITL suggested air cargo should be subject to physical treatment under certain circumstances, including suspicious packages, those in which the manifest or entry information is in question or when the shipper, consignor or consignee are not known.

In an upcoming column appearing in the July issue of Logistics Today, hazardous materials expert Lawrence Bierlein noted various industry and regulatory groups had met in June to discuss packaging concerns for air shipments of hazardous materials. Bierlein also urged shippers to get involved in this regulatory debate.

Meanwhile, US House of Representative members were expected to move forward a proposal that would mandate 100% scanning of all US-bound maritime containers. NITL and other industry groups expressed their opposition to the plan.

Earlier, the House passed H.R. 1 "Implementing the 9/11 Recommendations Act," which calls for 100% scanning of inbound containers. The Senate passed S. 4 "Improving America's Security by Implementing Unfinished Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007," which lays out instructions for developing a plan for full scanning.

NITL and other industry groups prefer the Senate version, which allows the Department of Homeland Security to determine how to integrate increased scanning into the present risk-based approach to freight security.

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