Thursday, Mar. 23, 2017

Important update: Agreement Established to Strengthen US-Bound Air Cargo Security

By Export Council of Australia · July 27, 2015

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Australian exporters and freight forwarders air freighting goods that will arrive in or pass through the US need to be aware of the below developments regarding US-bound air cargo.

Currently, the US requires most airlines transporting air cargo to or through the US on a passenger flight to examine 100 per cent of the cargo at piece-level. Until recently Australia was exempt from this rule, however, the US has advised that the exemption will cease and Australia too will now have to comply with these requirements. This means that there will be a requirement for an increased level of examination for goods in each individual box, carton or other item in a shipment either by technology or physically inspected before being loaded onto a US-bound aircraft. However, according to the new agreement reached between the Australian Office of Transport Security (OTS) and the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the TSA will continue to recognise Australia’s National Security Program for US-bound air cargo until mid-2017. Australian based exporters, freight forwarders and airlines will need to adopt new interim security measures, phased in over time, for the preparation of US-bound air cargo in order to comply.  The intent is that over the period until mid – 2017 the OTS will be developing new programs which, with TSA approval, will take effect at that stage.  The new programs will include a party either joining a "Known Consignor" program which includes an approved arrangement for an exporter or being subjected to additional types of screening at a piece – level before the goods arrive at the airport.  Those new OTS programs will then take over from the interim arrangements in mid – 2017.

Australian exporters’ air freighting goods to the US, you should expect contact from your freight forwarder and/or air carrier in the near future as policies and procedures are developed to implement the new arrangements.

The Export Council of Australia has been actively involved in work with the OTS and the TSA to assist with the agreement on the interim arrangements, including discussions with the TSA in Washington DC.  The ECA will continue to publish updates as the situation develops.

For more detailed information about the new agreement, please see the below update from the Department of Infrastructure’s Transport Security division:

On 16 July 2015, officials from the Australian OTS and the TSA finalised discussions around the current development of the Australian supply chain security regime and an operational implementation plan to support continuing recognition of Australia's National Cargo Security Program (NCSP).

The Australian and US Governments have agreed to a strategy for continued recognition of Australia's NCSP for US-bound air cargo. Under this agreement, from 1 August 2015 airlines will have 45 days to submit a proposal for an amendment to the TSA's Standard Security Program. The proposed amendments are to include aggressive timelines for meeting the current and future requirements of both Governments.

The agencies understand that the Australian Government will require two years to pass appropriate legislation and develop and fully implement the framework regulations to govern a full supply chain security scheme that includes a Known Consignor scheme, consistent with the international standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The Australian Government will introduce legislation into Parliament before the end of 2015, with the regulatory requirements, rollout and full implementation of the program to be finalised no later than 30 June 2017.

During the interim period as the Australian Government implements its legislative and regulatory frameworks, air carriers operating to the US will establish appropriate implementation plans for their specific operations. Providing approved amendments to the airlines of TSA's Standard Security Programs will allow the contingent recognition of Australia's NCSP while air carriers adopt a phased-in approach to the new Australian supply chain security regime while achieving compliance with U.S. inbound requirements. Affected air carriers should contact their respective TSA International Industry Representative (IIR) to discuss their specific implementation plans before July 31.

The TSA and OTS will continue to work together, and with industry, to ensure commensurate levels of air cargo security are maintained.

This agreement will ensure that the bilateral trade will continue, while enhancing air cargo security outcomes in both countries.

For more information and to keep updated, please visit the Australian government’s transport security website:

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