Air cargo forwarders who operate security screening facilities are questioning a proposed fee increase for government background checks of employees.
The Transportation Security Administration on Thursday issued a final rule governing the Certified Cargo Screening Program. The rule changes little from an interim measure published a year ago, except for a proposed hike in fees for “security threat assessments.”
The fee originally was set at $21 in 2006, but TSA is proposing a fee that’s somewhere between $31 and $51 per assessment. TSA is seeking public comment on the fee until Sept. 19.
“If it’s on the high side, we’re going to have problems,” said Brandon Fried, president of the Airforwarders Association. “We’re paying for security threat assessments for hundreds of thousands of employees. It’s not just forwarders, but our agents, our truckers and their employees.
TSA last year set up CCSP, which authorizes carriers and indirect carriers to screen air cargo for explosives that could bring down an aircraft in flight. The program satisfies a congressional order to TSA to ensure that all cargo moving aboard passenger aircraft is screened before loading.
Fried said he the final rule reaffirmed TSA’s commitment to keep air cargo screening a private sector function.
“I am happy to see that TSA is still against the federalization of the screening,” Fried said. “We’ve felt that it should a supply chain-led solution. We’ve had a year of successful screening under CCSP, and they wouldn’t do a good job of it.”
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