Study highlights air cargo security failings

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There are considerable security shortcomings in air freight transport, despite newly drafted and tighter EU regulations which close the gaps in control, according to a new study of the International Transfer Centre for Logistics and the Technische Universität of Berlin.

The study, which was commissioned by World Cargo Centre in Frankfurt, warns that “these weak spots increase the security risk of worldwide transport, which can result in the disruption of logistical processes with considerable economic losses”.

The numerous unstandardised regulations and certificates governing air and freight security are a particular source of problems, the study says. While 56 per cent of logistics service providers regard the lack of security concepts as being the biggest security problem, 61 per cent of freight handlers particularly complain of the lack of security awareness of their own staff and the staff of their service providers.

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Aspects relating to technology and buildings also play a role: 24 per cent of logistics service providers and 39 per cent of freight handlers consider the surveillance technology in air freight centres to be inadequate. Moreover, 28 per cent of logistics service providers and 56 per cent of freight handlers criticise the entrance controls to freight centres.

“It is particularly small and medium-sized logistics service providers which need to bring their systems more up to date. While 82 per cent of industrial companies which export a high proportion of goods regard security precautions as being an integral part of logistical processes, only 59 per cent of service providers attach the same importance to this particular aspect.

Markus Wolf, chief executive of World Cargo Centre Frankfurt, said: “The customer must be able to rely on the building satisfying the highest security standards to ensure the maximum protection of staff and freight.”

The study also found that the requirements of the strict EU security regulations discernibly delay urgent air freight and, according to 80 per cent of those surveyed, drive costs through the roof. The same percentage regard this as reducing the opportunities for the growth of air freight.

Some 77 per cent of logistics service providers and 83 per cent of freight handlers are of the view that security requirements account for up to ten per cent of all logistics costs.

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