Boston airport launches cargo-screening program

Boston airport launches cargo-screening program

Boston's Logan International Airport will become the first in the country to electronically screen cargo before it is loaded on commercial flights as part of a test program.

The 30-day program, which begins today, uses a scanner to screen full truckloads of cargo for explosives. Currently, only a small percentage of cargo is checked before being shipped in freighters or passenger planes.

About 22 percent of all air cargo transported in the United States is carried aboard passenger planes, according to the General Accounting Office.

Logan, from which two hijacked used in the September 11 attacks originated, was the first major airport to install a permanent screening program for all checked baggage.

The airport will test other scanner technology following the pilot program, before it formulates a new security strategy for cargo.

Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., has been outspoken about the need for increased air-cargo security, and wants the Transportation Security Administration to require physical inspection of all cargo carried on passenger planes. The TSA and airline industry calls the proposal impractical.