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GACAG touts cargo screening pilot programs

By control on December 7, 2011

Executives from the Global Air Cargo Advisory Group recently met with U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin and senior Transportation Security Administration officials to endorse the development of advanced cargo screening pilot programs. Collaboration with leading airfreight authorities is essential, GACAG officials maintained, as is determining whether advance data supports a risk-based approach to cargo screening.

Executives from GACAG, a coalition formed last year by officials from the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA), the International Air Transport Association, The International Air Cargo Association and the Global Shippers’ Forum, stated in a release that “pragmatism, flexibility and joint evaluation of pilot results will be critically important to realizing the goals of the Air Cargo Advanced Screening program.”

GACAG also reiterated its support of the TSA’s and CBP’s work to raise awareness of the ACAS and how the lessons learned in the U.S. could be applied globally. What’s more, airfreight coalition officials verbally committed to assisting both entities with the ACAS pilot program, although they asked that shippers be allowed to participate in program discussions.

Open dialogue between national authorities and cargo leaders is essential to adequately evaluate the program at every stage, coalition officials said.

“We understand and support the need for comprehensive risk assessment,” the GACAG members said in a statement. “A verified secure supply chain is one of the ways this can be accomplished with traders, forwarders, ground handlers and airlines all fulfilling their important roles. The interface and interaction between forwarders and airlines in this regard is paramount.

“This can only be efficiently accomplished through cooperative coordination of their respective submissions, particularly when it comes to the provision of advance information under the dual filing procedure,” the coalition continued.

Officials for the global airfreight coalition also touted a paperless environment for imports and exports. In a discussion with the CBP, GACAG leaders said they anticipate a “one-stop-shop” approach to Customs, where secured data is transmitted electronically between cargo handlers and regulatory agencies.

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