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Air cargo securityTSA brings 100% cargo screening forward to 2011

Published 19 January 2011

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has brought forward its 100 per cent cargo screening target to 31 December 2011; the earliest possible implementation date for 100 per cent screening was initially thought to be 2013, given the complex challenges associated with screening international inbound cargo carried on passenger aircraft; now 100 per cent of the cargo that is uplifted on passenger aircraft bound for the United States must be screened by the end of this year

All cargo, every day, to be screened // Source: abcnews.com

As details surrounding al Qaeda’s air cargo bomb plot emerge, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has brought forward its 100 per cent cargo screening target to 31 December 2011.

Intelligence information obtained on 23 December reveals militant organization Al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula sought to make a bomb using insulated drinking mugs and thermoses, leading to enhanced checks in air cargo security lines in the United States over the holiday period. Air Cargo News reports that the earliest possible implementation date for 100 per cent screening was initially thought to be 2013, given the complex challenges associated with screening international inbound cargo carried on passenger aircraft. Now 100 per cent of the cargo that is uplifted on passenger aircraft bound for the United States must be screened by the end of this year.

Carriers will have 30-45 days to comment on the new 100 per cent screening requirement, and TSA will review and evaluate the industry comments prior to finalizing the requirement effective.

TSA Administrator John Pistole explains the al Qaeda plot involved the use of triacetone triperoxide (TATP) around the cylinder of a thermos to be put on either passenger or cargo aircraft.

“We put out an alert just making sure that all of our transportation security officers are alert to that and do additional physical screening in addition to the X-rays,” Pistole says.

Perhaps in an effort to speed up cargo screening, twelve L-3 X-ray screening systems have now been placed on the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Air Cargo Qualified Technologies List. L-3 screens both break-bulk and skid-based air cargo with systems covering TSA’s small, medium and large X-ray classifications.