The U.S. and Canadian governments have agreed to mutually recognize each other’s airfreight screening protocols. Under a new agreement, belly-hold cargo screened in either the U.S. or Canada won’t have to be re-screened once it’s uploaded on a passenger aircraft in the other nation.
According to a press release issued by Canadian authorities, this initiative will reduce delays and lower costs associated with screening. After all, the press release explained, nearly half of airfreight flown in Canada is transported on passenger craft.
Canada’s Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities Denis Lebel, who announced the initiative along with Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy James Nealon, believes the new program will have a strong impact on North American trade.
“With our vast geography, Canada’s economy relies on the safe and efficient movement of goods by air,” Lebel said in a statement. “Mutual recognition of air cargo security programs will improve efficiency and cut costs for businesses and consumers on both sides of the border.”
Nealon, who spoke on behalf of Transportation Security Administration Administrator John Pistole, concurred, remarking that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama endorsed mutual recognition of airfreight screening protocols in their Beyond the Border Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness Action Plan. “Through this program, we will be able to move goods between the U.S. and Canada faster, more efficiently, and most securely,” he said in a statement.
This agreement comes on the heels of the U.S. and EU’s decision in early May to mutually recognize each other’s known shippers, a resolution that will go into effect on July 1. These companies will now experience faster Customs clearance, among other benefits, while ensuring the security standards of both countries are met, according to a press release.
Tony Tyler, director general and CEO of the International Air Transport Association, lauded the agreement, calling it “a great example of what can be achieved when stakeholders cooperate as partners with a common purpose.” After all, he explained, regulators and industry leaders have worked together for more than seven years to harmonize and establish better security practices.
“We hope that this agreement is the cornerstone for further alignment, especially for passenger security,” Tyler said in a statement. “This partnership model should serve as a template for other national regulators moving toward risk-based security regimes.
“Air cargo is vital to the global economy,” Tyler continued. “The US-EU Cargo Security Agreement marks a major step forward in one of the most important air cargo markets.”