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Cargo fury at TSA decree

18-Mar-2011

AIRLINES and forwarders are furious at the US Transportation Security Agency (TSA) over its latest security diktat and its short deadline

Under the amendment, regulated agents have to provide a statement saying that shipments tendered on a master AWB were received from persons having an established account with a physical shipping address and a payment, invoice or credit history of at least one year. Failure to provide such a statement or shipments tendered by unregulated agents will result in additional security measures.

The TSA issued the surprise amendment late on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning (4-5 March), when most executives and managers were on their way home, and gave a deadline for compliance of the following Thursday (10 March).

No TSA executive was available during the weekend to answer calls from carriers, operators complained, leaving airlines around the globe without access to the TSA for clarification until the following Monday.

To make matters worse, the directive went out just as many senior airline executives were headed for the IATA conference in Istanbul. In North America airlines struggled to come to grips with it and notified forwarders late on Wednesday (9 March), just as they were heading out for AirCargo 2011 in San Diego, the annual conference of airfreight forwarders and expedited carriers.

“[It] hijacked the IATA conference,” noted Lise-Marie Turpin, managing director of Air Canada Cargo. “Most of the discussions in Istanbul were about the security directive.” The combined anger of airline cargo executives and their objection at the timing of the amendment greeted the TSA representative, Warren Miller, when he sat on a security panel there. Doug Britten, TSA’s general manager cargo who was supposed to attend, once again failed to show and abandoned Miller to run the gauntlet of the airfreight industry alone.