On almost every commercial airline flight, the cargo hold contained more than just your luggage and a pet carrier or two. Airlines make substantial income by filling their passenger flight holds with a wide variety of cargo.
About 10 million pounds of cargo are shipped on passenger planes in the U.S. every day. While the luggage has all been screened for explosives for years, almost none of the cargo went through security until recently. By August 3, 2010, all the freight that’s shipped aboard commercial airlines must be screened for bombs.
Before then though, a system of private cargo screeners must be established. Federal officials and freight industry leaders are worried that tons of cargo will be grounded because of a lack of certified screeners.
The TSA’s Certified Cargo Screening Program does not currently have enough certified screeners to meet demand. The problem is that most freight flown on passenger planes arrives pre-packaged on pallets or in large cargo bins.
Federal law though requires every box (even those contained within the pallets and bins) to be individually screened by either humans, X-ray machines, explosive-detection equipment or trained dogs.
The law does not require that the freight be screened at airports, like luggage, but allows TSA to certify private companies to screen cargo at any point in the shipping process, providing secure deliveries to airlines.
Even if the goods are inspected prior to packaging on pallets or in bins, it seems that everyone handling the product from there would need to have TSA certification, to assure a secure chain of custody.
The new inspection mandate does not apply to 100% cargo planes, such as those flown by FedEx and UPS. Carriers with their own cargo planes could certainly see an uptick in business next year while the industry and TSA sorts out the screener issues.
Freightquote.com’s customers won’t have to worry about air freight shipping delays come next August. Freightquote’s shipping experts keep abreast of all industry news and will be equipped to route customer’s shipments to the best performing air freight carriers, for the best rate.