British freight forwarders and transport companies warned against a knee jerk reaction to the discovery of parcel bombs on aircraft in the UK and Dubai on Friday.
"The issue requires attention to look at systems and procedures -- though it must be stressed that there are already well established, in depth and organized processes in place," said Peter Quantrill, Director General of the British International Freight Association which represents freight forwarders and freight agents.
"It was a very serious issue but it would be wrong to suggest that airfreight is not treated in the same way as passengers when it comes to security."
Cargo security relies less on new methods and technology than on greater co-operation and information sharing among companies involved in the supply chain and between the public and private sectors, Quantrill said.
The Freight Transport Association, which represents transport companies, including truckers, defended the industry's security record saying it always works closely with government agencies on potential threats.
"The air cargo industry has obviously been aware for many years of the potential of terrorists to attempt to use or attack freight-only flights and has worked assiduously with law enforcement and security agencies to provide a security regime that will prevent this from happening," said Christopher Snelling, global head of supply chain at the FTA.
The British Airline Pilots Association claimed, however, that successive governments have failed to respond to its warnings over security threats to cargo aircraft.
Manchester Airports Group, owner of East Midland airport, where a bomb was found Friday on a UPS flight from Cologne, Germany, warned airlines would go elsewhere if the UK unilaterally introduces costly new security measures.
The Association of German Airports today called for a detailed analysis of the two bomb incidents before new security rules are introduced.
"Over hasty conclusions and snap judgments are not going to help anyone," said Association president Ralph Biesel.
-- Contact Bruce Barnard at firstname.lastname@example.org.