The threat to air cargo security has never been higher and investments in the latest screening technology are a top priority for industry operators.
On 15 July, two terrorists were foiled in Australia and police allege components for an improvised explosive device (IED) were sent to Sydney Airport in an airfreight shipment from Turkey via Isis operatives in Syria.
HAE Group director, Neville Karai believes the global threat to air cargo security has increased due to the world events that have taken place, but is sure that industry has responded: “Air cargo has taken its obligations seriously and we have also seen a very positive support role played by the regulator, particularly in the UK.”
Karai says security of the supply chain is any cargo handlers’ main objective and HAE Aircraft and Cargo Handling is no different, noting it carries out constant training and focuses on new forms of threat detection. He does though feel support from regulators is key to everyone operating together.
Karai believes the general security of facilities and processing of cargo has increased across its own global network over the last year based on the global threat.
To combat any threat, HAE carries out its own internal audit and does not wait for the regulator to check how it operates.
Karai says it has a dedicated security management team that reports into its board on security, who are constantly making recommendations and checking training records of the staff. The company also does many of its own unannounced visits to “test the robustness” of security processes.
Even more though has to be done and he feels there has to be an even more alignment between compliance and new industry traffic flows such as e-commerce. “In the UK we are lucky that our regulator is open to dialogue and consultation.
“The pressure will always be on cut-offs of acceptance to processing and exports. But cargo must be checked and never compromised,” Karai adds.
He says HAE has had examples and processes of where attempts have been made to compromise security through the density of banned items, but it is pleased this was picked up through standard operating procedures and the material was then handed over to the authorities.
Operators now have new innovative technology to help counter any security threats and Karai says as well as the use of X-Ray, HAE is increasing the use of explosive trace detection (ETD) and other methods to enhance security and speed up processes in the supply chain. He adds: “We are seeing increased use of ETD in our warehouses and its associated protocols.”
The global threat to air cargo security looks like it is here to stay, but the industry looks for now to be winning the fight.