UK forwarders warn against knee-jerk reaction to air cargo security

The British International Freight Association (BIFA), the trade association for UK freight forwarders and other cargo interests, says that whilst the UK Government is likely to review all aspects of air cargo security following the incident at East Midlands airport and overseas last Friday, there should not be a knee-jerk reaction.

Director general Peter Quantrill comments: "The issue requires attention to look at systems and procedures - though it must be stressed that there are already well established, in depth and organised processes in place.

"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.

“The fact that the explosives were discovered after an intelligence tip off, shows that the use of intelligence and good policing experience is one of the most important aspects of this.

“That is why BIFA is very pleased that the UK Government has already acknowledged the massive economic and financial implications of much tighter international air cargo security rules, and has stopped short of saying that a much more rigorous system of checks was being planned either unilaterally or globally.

“Post 9/11, industry and government has implemented robust legislation for securing the supply chain from an act of terrorism, and the freight forwarding industry has made heavy investments in screening equipment and procedures.

“Success in securing the supply chain relies less on new methods and technology than it does on greater co-operation and information sharing among supply chain parties and between the public and private sectors.

“Clear, uniformly enforced strategies that build on existing commercial and government data at minimal cost and with minimal disruption to the flow of trade are essential to success. It’s a tall order. And it brings costs with it. But success depends on it.

“Our members are constantly looking at the screening of freight and the processes that they use. You can be certain that we will be talking with Government and other involved parties about these issues.

“Come what may, our members will have a pivotal role in implementing any changes which are introduced in the wake of Friday’s incident.”
 

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