Air Cargo Management and Its Best Practices

Introduction

The air cargo sector comprises a multifaceted distribution network that connects shippers and manufacturers with consignment consolidators, freight forwarders, and cargo handling facilities for loading and unloading from aircraft. Whereas a small portion of consignment shipment travels by air, products shipped on airplanes consist of high-value and time-sensitive commodities (Sales, 2016). Through best security practices, businesses can secure goods and mitigate any pilferage through an effective cargo screening process (Hassam et al., 2018). Best security practices in the supply chain must incorporate all workers’ hierarchy from the management to those in the front-line. Every individual should adhere to and understand those regulations and rules governing freight screening. Air consignment examination requires sound measures conforming to acceptable standards as depicted in the analysis.

Best Practice

Regulatory guideline on cargo assessment in the United States was passed in 2010, compelling a 100 percent examination. Implemented by Transportation Security Administration (TSA), all air freights in the U.S must be thoroughly inspected to satisfactory levels. To restrain movement distraction in screening centers, the TSA launched Certified Cargo Screening Program (CCSP) to allow shippers and companies to carry out screening actions at their facilities, leading to Certified Cargo Screening Facilities (CCSFs).

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The main advantage of this procedure is that it eliminates unnecessary delays orchestrated by protracted airport inspection. After cargo inspection has been carried out at CCSFs, the TSA inspection becomes partly scaled down at the airport (Fried, 2020). Moreover, freight screening is the duty of airlines before they upload it to aircraft. Another benefit offered by this best standard is that it supports mass verification of consignment without compromising other operations, resulting in enhanced operational efficiency at the airport. Despite being a highly applauded practice, some disadvantages accompany this practice. For instance, doubts by airlines about this kind of screening make them contemplate doing the exercise alone. Also, the outsourced procedure can sometimes be compromised despite being a highly regulated affair leading to financial, reputational, legal, or security breach implications.

Opinion

From my standpoint, it is agreeable that CCSP implementation brings immense benefits to the air freight industry. First, it drastically minimizes interruptions in transporting consignments to the intended destination. Enhanced turnaround period is a critical factor in air cargo delivery duties and time-sensitive customers will always select a service provider with the reputation of low lead times. Since CCSP is a program initiated by the federal administration, its replication in all cargo environments could prove a successful undertaking. Following the 9/11 attack, aviation security remains an indispensable affair (Cohen, 2019). The incident changed the air travel sector and safety remains a priority than ever. Acts of terrorism and other serious security breaches could have increased if this practice was not implemented.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Airfreight screening must adhere to best practices for enhanced security in the sector. The CCSP has aided in facilitating cargo shipment along the delivery channels, leading to delivery shorter transportation period. As part of the recommendations, TSA should give certification on time to accredited private companies and perform apt renewal when the validity of authorization elapses. The TSA should also conduct daily spot checks in outsourced facilities to ensure compliance with CCSP guidelines. Additionally, TSA should reinforce the custody chain of cargo right from departure at the facility to the aircraft while conforming to non-interference in any way.

References

Cohen, J. (2019). Securing the air cargo supply chain. Freight Waves.

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Fried, B. (2020). Air forwarders association: How to handle the all-cargo screening mandate. Air Cargo News.

Sales, M. (2016). Air cargo management: Air freight and the global supply chain. Taylor & Francis.

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