With the final stage of a programme to enhance air cargo security due to start next week, U-Freight is reassuring shippers it is fully prepared for the enhanced screening measures in Hong Kong.
“The final phase demands that all consignors of air cargo must be approved by the appropriate authority as a ‘validated’ known consignor (KC), with any consignee not validated becoming an ‘unknown consignor’ with all their cargo subject to 100% security screening prior to being loaded on to a commercial aircraft, to meet the ICAO deadline of 100% screening of non-known consignee cargo by June 30th 2021,” explained U-Freight chief executive CEO Simon Wong.
U-Freight said it one of the first freight forwarders to have its logistics hub in Hong Kong to be validated and certified by Civil Aviation Department (CAD), adding it has been working with the relevant authorities to ensure that enhanced security requirements are met.
More than two years ago, the company installed an X-ray machine at its Golden Bear Industrial Centre in Hong Kong. This allowed staff staff adequate time to gain experience in the scanning process and helped identify prohibited or ‘suspect’ products inside e-commerce parcels, which have seen increased demand. Shortly after it installed a second X-ray machine that can scan consignments up to pallet size and modified its export operations warehouse to accommodate its machines.
“The U-Freight Group fully supports the ICAO aviation security requirements and has worked closely with CAD, Hong Kong Airport Authority, Cargo Terminal Operator and HAFFA in making the necessary preparations to make sure that we enhance our air cargo security regime to meet international aviation security requirements,” Wong added.
Back in September 2016, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the UN agency overseeing air navigation and transport, announced a policy to enhance the international standards on air cargo security. Under this direction, consignors not subject to approval by the aviation security authority are obliged to be phased out by 30 June 2021.
Fully supporting this policy and anticipating the need for further screening capacity, Hong Kong’s CAD in October 2018 developed the Regulated Air Cargo Screening Facility (RACSF) to enable and regulate air cargo screening at off-airport locations, such as warehouses or similar premises, before cargo can be transported to the airport for loading onto aircraft.
In January last year, ICAO announced further enhancements to the security measures with a transitional arrangement to increase the percentage of air cargo being screened throughout 2020.
From January to April, 25 percent of air shipments (by weight) are required to be screened, increasing to 40 percent in phase 2 from May to August 2020; 70 percent in the third phase three from September 2020 to February 2021, and 100 percent for the final phase starting 1 March until ICAO’s June 30 deadline.