U.S. 100% screening law in doubt

Published 20 April 2009

In 2007, Congress passed a law requiring 100% screening of U.S.-bound air cargo; in February, TSA reached the 50% screening milestone, but the agency says 100% screening is not likely anytime soon; other countries do not mind, saying unilateral U.S. moves on screening violate their sovereignty

U.S. legislation passed in 2007 that requires 100 percent air cargo pre-screening by August 2010 achieved its interim milestone of 50 percent screening (of mainly loose cargo on U.S. narrow-body aircraft using predominantly passenger luggage screening systems) in February this year, but Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials now say they do not expect to achieve 100 percent success. The TSA is responsible for implementing the system.

Significant efforts to reach the 100 per cent mark are ongoing, a TSA spokeswoman said, but the TSA “cannot implement a security regimen in a foreign country without extensive, co-operative planning with — and acceptance by — our international partners.”

The Air Cargo Management Group (ACMG) consultancy recently explained: “Many countries see unilateral U.S. security requirements as a violation of their national sovereignty. No broad-based multi-lateral international approach to air cargo security exists.”