- Airlines will have to submit information on their cargo to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) before loading it onto the aircraft, under the Air Cargo Advance Screening (ACAS) program that went into effect Tuesday. The information includes the shipper's name and address, a cargo description and weight, according to Air Cargo News.
- Sharing data well in advance of a flight arriving to the U.S. will allow Customs to warn crews before they load potentially suspicious cargo onto an airplane, the Associated Press reported.
- ACAS has been in the pilot stage since 2010. Airlines for America, an association representing major airlines, told Supply Chain Dive in an e-mail the pilot has provided "an efficient and effective additional layer of intelligent data analysis that has risk assessed over 500 million shipments since 2010."
While the e-commerce boom has boosted growth in the air cargo industry, it has also created concerns about security, as bad actors use parcels and shipments to disguise bombs or other explosives.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reviewed its cargo security measures last fall, after finding a partially assembled bomb on a flight from Turkey to Australia.
"While there is no current specific terrorist threat to cargo bound to the United States, terrorists continue to target the aviation sector," CBP said in a news release.
Before June 12, airlines were still required to provide cargo information, but only a few hours before landing in the U.S. Many airlines were already participating in the ACAS program and sending cargo data before loading it onto the aircraft, according to CBP.
Government agencies and the airline industry have taken numerous steps to enhance security, especially after 9/11. CBP said the program was built as a partnership between the federal agency and air cargo industry and "represents the government and private sector working together to solve challenging problems."
With airlines already sharing data with U.S. Customs, implementation of the ACAS program is unlikely to cause any major changes to airlines' operations and should improve safety.
"Because ACAS was purposely designed to take place early in the supply chain, its aviation security benefit has been achieved with the minimum possible impact on operational feasibility and air cargo reliability," Airlines for America said.