A new day for global air cargo security
But challenges exist due to complexities within the air cargo industry and supply chains. An example is getting data early enough in the process to give time to react before individual shipments are consolidated or built up for carriage.
“Data fields, formats and codes also must be standardized in accordance with IATA and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) practices,” says AF Cargo’s Servant.
Hub-based carriers, such as AF-KL, are particularly anxious to see future ACAS reporting processes harmonized internationally with identical standards ideally driven by the World Customs Organization (WCO).
“This is the case, in particular, for all connecting shipments involving two reporting channels simultaneously,” Servant says.
An example would be a shipment from Asia to JFK via CDG that requires previous ‘clearance’ by respective U.S. and France customs before it may depart from Asia.
“The ACAS process is applicable to all inbound shipments, regardless of the origin station or country,” he adds.
Korean Air’s Hoon expects that from ACAS, airlines will able to obtain security status of the shipment in advance from registration stage and also prevent shipment from showing up late.
“Also, we expect the responsibility of cargo security to be partially dispersed from airlines to shipper and forwarding companies as well,” Hoon says. “Forwarders will be affected by the fact that they will have to transmit data of the shipment earlier than usual and airlines will have to bear the space loss that might occur if the cargo is prohibited to be transported to the United States.”
While a handful of larger forwarders are participating in the volunteer pilot, those within the Airforwarders Association remain concerned that more small to medium-sized forwarders are not voluntarily submitting shipment data to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency during the testing phase.
“Those forwarders who remain unaware of the program or its requirements may encounter delays on shipments coming into the U.S. after ACAS leaves its pilot phase and becomes a requirement,” Fried says.
Despite the challenges, the industry is positive about ACAS.
“The good thing about ACAS is that the authorities are able to receive the entire shipment details from consignee to the commodity level,” Menen says.
Anderson regards ACAS as a perfect example of one of the most positive and encouraging recent trends – industry stakeholders and government representatives collaborating to develop mutually beneficial solutions.
“This spirit of cooperation bodes well for future security rulemaking,” he says. “Several other nations are exploring similar data-driven programs, and ACAS has the potential to serve as the standard for the rest of the world.”