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Strict cargo screening measures after Yemen bomb plot

2-Nov-2010 9:09 AM

Britain suspended unaccompanied airfreight from Somalia and imposed restrictions on transporting toner cartridges following the discovery of devices identified in two packages originating in Yemen on 29-Oct-2010 (Bloomberg, 02-Nov-2010). Both were addressed to synagogues or affiliated institutions in Chicago. The airfreight bans will initially apply for one month. In London, Prime Minister David Cameron convened a crisis committee to decide Britain’s response. British International Freight Association (BIFA) Director general Peter Quantrill stated that while the issue requires attention to look at systems and procedures, it must be stressed that there are already well established, in-depth and organised processes in place (Eyefortransport, 01-Nov-2010).

Australia's Government announced (30-Oct-2010) the nation immediately implemented additional security screening of cargo arriving from the Middle East following the detection of explosives on flights to the UK and US. The Office of Transport Security issued a direction that all inbound cargo originating from Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha must now be screened - using either X-ray or explosive trace detection technology - before being sent onto a third country or destinations within Australia. [more]

Germany's ban on incoming parcels and other air cargo from Yemen was widened on 01-Nov-2010 into an exclusion from German airspace of all aircraft that began their flights in Yemen (Monsters and Critics, 02-Nov-2010). The Berlin Transport Ministry stated German air traffic control was instructed to turn away all planes coming directly or indirectly from Yemen. Berlin has also ordered the DHL, UPS and FedEx to investigate every Yemen-origin parcel in their German depots.

Canada has banned all direct passenger and air cargo flights from Yemen and Nigeria will inspect all cargo heading for the US with special scanners for detecting explosives. The Canadian restriction so far only applies to air cargo (Postmedia News, 01-Nov-2010).

International Air Transport Association (IATA) spokesman Steve Lott called for tougher measures to monitor cargo security following the incident stating, “supply chain security” should be implemented long before a package enters an aircraft (National Post, 01-Nov-2010).

IATA: “Every group that touches that piece of cargo needs to have responsibility for security, so airlines know no one has tampered with the product. Now we need to look broader, beyond what happens at the airport, because ultimately the idea here is that the airport shouldn’t be the first line of defence,”. Steve Lott, IATA Spokesman for North American branch. Source: National Post, 01-Nov-2010.

UPSpilots union, Independent Pilots Association spokesman Brian Gaudet stated: “We think the TSA must reevaluate intelligence-driven programs such as the freight assessment system and inject random screening into our systematic approach to higher screening standards,” (Bloomberg, 02-Nov-2010).

Lufthansa Cargo called for an international harmonisation of security screenings for air freight with spokesman Michael Goentgens adding “a set of various national standards don't suffice to provide adequate security” (Dow Jones, 02-Nov-2010. Mr Goentgens added that Lufthansa Cargo intends to continue its existing screening practices and at present won't consider increasing security measures. [more - BSI supply chain solutions]

Ryanair  CEO Michael O'Leary claimed that passengers could be subjected to "ludicrous" new security measures following the bomb plot, making air travel "even more uncomfortable and tedious" (NBC, 01-Nov-2010).