Current and Emerging Air Cargo Security and Facilitation Issues

Maria Buzdugan – McGill University, Montreal – Institute of Air and Space Law

In the wake of September 11th and following an overemphasis on passenger air travel security, the air cargo system potentially has become the primary target for terrorists. States have undertaken various regulatory approaches that involve technology and operational measures aimed at addressing the perceived security threats in the air cargo industry. This thesis presents both an overview of the potential risks and best security practices identified within several international, regional and national initiatives, including the “authorized economic operator” and “secure supply chain” mechanisms. The main challenge in designing an adequate security system appears to be ensuring that security improvements are in accord with the time-sensitive realities of air cargo industry and do not unduly interfere with trade flow. It is argued that only an international approach based on best available cargo security practices could adequately and efficiently address the current and emerging air cargo security vulnerabilities.

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