ICAO chief urges focus on air cargo security to reduce delays and losses

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ICAO Council President, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and World Customs Organization (WCO) must to “everything” to prevent the severe delays, disruptions and financial losses, which arise due to lapses in air cargo security, according to ICAO Council President Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu.

He was speaking yesterday in Kuala Lumpur to ministerial and industry leaders at the ICAO-WCO Joint Conference on Enhancing Air Cargo Security and Facilitation: The Path to Effective Implementation.

Aliu also said the focus of ICAO’s efforts with the WCO is shifting from the creation of an effective regulatory framework, and evolving toward the fostering of best practices in operations and the provision of assistance to States.

He highlighted that much progress had been made in conceiving and aligning policies and tools and raising awareness amongst States, industry, and other stakeholders, putting ICAO-WCO co-operation on very firm footing moving forward.

Aliu stressed: “We now have in place new provisions for supply chain security, high risk cargo, transfer cargo, and the selection of appropriate screening methods, and efforts are continuing to align these rules and guidance with WCO’s related provisions.

“We are here today in order to support a vital and progressive air cargo industry. Above all, this means achieving the right balance between security and facilitation.

“The global economy and the livelihoods of a large percentage of the world’s population depend on the rapid and reliable transport of air cargo. Improving connectivity is a great catalyst for development, and helps to open up new markets, generate commercial expansion, create jobs and raise living standards. ICAO will therefore continue to be in the forefront of air cargo development, protection, and promotion.”

Both Aliu and ICAO secretary general, Fang Liu also said the focus must now be on ensuring new regulations are implemented to the fullest extent possible, notably through on-going support from ICAO.

Aliu said ICAO can play in generating the political will amongst States to deploy the necessary structures and resources to contribute to the efficiency of the air cargo industry, including compliance monitoring, through its outreach initiatives and its auditing system.

He explained: “We must also set out clear rules and guidance in National Civil Aviation Security Programmes. ICAO can also assist here, through our assistance to regulatory oversight system , as well as training and capacity building activities.”

Liu also highlighted the value of coordination to foster a truly secure and efficient cargo supply chain. “It can only be achieved through a coordinated global, regional and national approach,” she declared, calling for groups of neighbouring States such as those in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, to consult and work more closely while involving suitable industry groups.

She added: “We will explore ways of further strengthening the supply chain, encourage innovations in screening procedures and equipment, and do all that we can to support the move to electronic documentation and communication.

“Meanwhile, let’s make sure that the current rules are working in all 191 Member States, and that the officials in those States are working with their regional or national counterparts in the 180 Members  of the WCO.”