AFA to press Homeland Security for e-commerce security updates

U.S. Government regulations for air cargo are outdated, thwarting cross-border and domestic e-commerce shipments and undercutting security, just as demand is pushing up airfreight markets.

Airforwarders Association (AfA) director Brandon Fried

This focus on the importance of updated standards will be the theme for today’s testimony (see it live here) by Airforwarders Association (AfA) director Brandon Fried, as he addresses the House Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Transportation and Protective Security.

The current “known-shipper” program predates e-commerce as we know it, Fried told Air Cargo World. “Back when the known-shipper program came to be, e-commerce was a nascent industry, and now e-commerce was [worth] US$500 billion last year, and we think that the program needs to be reframed to reflect current realities.”

One change that the AFA is advocating in this regard is speeding up the processing of known shippers, a change that will require cooperation between the U.S. Transport Security Administration (TSA) and various stakeholders to redesign the process. Fried also said that alternative methods might be “a lot quicker” in making a shipper “known.”

Another concern Fried plans to convey regards a decision by the TSA to stop providing training materials to assist indirect air carriers with training and regulations. Fried said that the absence of such tools would lead to “stakeholder confusion and misinterpretation of vital security elements.”

Fried also told Air Cargo World that inconsistent interpretation of TSA regulations has imposed significant costs on airfreight forwarders.

“We urge the new prospective administrator, when confirmed, to move the inspectors under the policy division at TSA,” the AFA testimony read. “Interpretation of policy and implementation of policy should be joined at the hip. At the end of the day, security deteriorates when operators do not have a clear understanding of regulations due to inconsistent policy interpretations.”

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