Air-cargo security should work under coordinated controls across the globe, an industry group urged, to avoid a morass of regulations that would bog the flow of trade.
"Global aviation security must be threat-based, risk-managed, multi-layered and operationally consistent to be effective," said the chairman of The International Air Cargo Association's Industry Affairs Committee.
Ulrich Ogiermann, also the president and chief executive of Cargolux, said security agencies should understand and make the best use of the resources and expertise employed by global trade and transport operators to meet their own commercial and security requirements.
The group called for the coordination and harmonization of security controls on a worldwide basis to avoid the multiplicity of regulations currently facing the industry.
"Restrictions and controls should be reasonably and visibly related to the threats they are intended to counter," said Ogiermann. "While sudden, unexpected developments could justify urgent unilateral action, broad security strategy and related legislation should be based on systematic consultation with relevant and responsible business interests."
He also recommended more consultation on national legislation, such as such as import controls, that can have affects beyond a country's borders.
Air-cargo carriers are preparing for new U.S. rules scheduled to take effect in February which mandate screening of 50 percent of all airfreight carried on passenger aircraft, increasing to 100 percent by August, 2010.
In a new policy statement, TIACA said it wants to simplify security compliance and audit record-keeping for traders, carriers and intermediaries, and deploy market forces to ensure safety. It added that unnecessarily complex procedures hinder start-up operations for small- and medium-sized companies entering the industry.
The group observed that security and safety standards have for years been subject to stringent international regulation by the International Civil Aviation Organization and other inter-governmental authorities.
"TIACA will actively support measures that are proven to improve airport and air cargo security. New initiatives, however, must be effective, workable, and affordable and create a minimum of disruption to the flow of air cargo.
"Failure to meet these objectives will create an environment where transport and, therefore, trade is disrupted," it stated.