May 18, 2012- Close to five years after a recommendation by the 9/11 Commission Act, the Transportation Safety Administration has finally announced a deadline for 100% screening for all cargo arriving on U.S. bound commercial flights.
The Commission had requested the 100% screening prior, but on Wednesday, the TSA announced that starting on December 3, 2012 all carriers must conduct complete cargo screening on all international flights bound for the U.S.
Starting on that date, all cargo on the flights must be screened for explosives, the TSA announced through a press release. John Pistole, the TSA Administrator said that harmonizing the security efforts with industry and international partners is an important step in securing the supply chain on a global basis. The TSA said that by making better use of intelligence systems, it would strengthen the screening processes by making sure all shipments of cargo are screened without impeding the normal flow of commerce.
Often times, commercial items are flown by passenger planes in their cargo holds. On bigger planes, numerous containers can be sealed by a shipper. One security expert said that even though cargo will be screened 100% it does not guarantee that something might slip by without being detected. The expert said that it is still hard with current technology to screen the larger containers.
The latest technology is very good at detecting explosives in luggage and some packages, but is not that useful in containers and other items that are larger in size that end up being shipped as cargo on passenger planes.