[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]There are multiple scenarios that could cause something to go wrong in supply chain management and result in a major disruption in supplying goods to consumers. Many layers co-exist in the chain, including companies, people, and varying nations, and all are vulnerable to unforeseen threats and security breaches.


Supply chain management teams must take active measures to safeguard against these threats.


Those tasked with security in the air cargo industry, which serves business and consumer demand for the domestic and international transport of high-value and time-critical goods, face very specific challenges and vulnerabilities.


Most employ multiple layers of security protections, encompassing access controls, video surveillance, and other physical security measures, as well the physical screening of the cargo shipments themselves. Some other common security practices inherent to transporting goods by air is the use of tamper-evident and tamper-resistant packaging, and proper vetting of the shipper and air cargo workers.


As a trusted security solutions provider to clients across many industry sectors, NextGen is adept at identifying specific threats to each. Within the air transport sector, we see some particularly noteworthy threats that need to be addressed to ensure the safe transport of goods. These are: Insider threats; Risk-based targeting of shipments, and Physical screening.


According to the Congressional Research Service:
Insider Threats: Insiders, individuals with access to detailed knowledge of the air cargo system, pose a vexing threat to aviation security. Adding to the challenge is the fact that air cargo is often stored and prepared for shipment at off-airport facilities and arrives at airports in bulk. This complex supply chain involves large numbers of individuals who handle and transport cargo prior to its loading, as well as individuals responsible for the routing and tracking of shipments. Historically, in the United States, these air cargo supply chains have been infiltrated by organized criminal elements conducting systematic theft and smuggling operations. There is concern among some that terrorist networks could similarly infiltrate airports, distribution centers, and ground transport operations to gather information about possible weaknesses and exploit vulnerabilities in the air cargo supply chain.

Physical screening of air cargo workers has been widely regarded as too costly, complex, and inflexible to meet the demands of air cargo and airport operations. Consequently, efforts to address insider threats have focused on worker vetting. This includes all regulated air cargo workers employed by airports, airlines, and freight forwarders, as well as employees of manufacturers, warehouses, distribution centers, and so on, that voluntarily participate in the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA’s) Certified Cargo Screening Program.


Risk-Based Vetting of Shipments: In addition to vetting air cargo workers, vetting of shippers and shipments serves as another key element in the multilayered approach to air cargo security. The known shipper program, first developed in the mid-1990s and refined in 2006, continues to serve as the primary means for vetting shipments: only consignments received from known shippers can fly aboard passenger airplanes. In addition, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) utilizes its Automated Targeting System to evaluate inbound international cargo and select cargo for inspection. Building on this, CBP and TSA continue to pilot test the Air Cargo Advance Screening (ACAS) system, under which freight forwarders and airlines voluntarily submit key data elements of cargo manifests for pre-departure vetting.


Cargo Screening: The Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 (P.L. 110-53) mandated 100% screening of air cargo placed on passenger flights. In contrast to its functional role in airline passenger and baggage screening, TSA serves primarily in a regulatory capacity with respect to air cargo screening. Mandatory screening is primarily accomplished by airlines and freight forwarders, as well as manufacturers, shippers, and cargo consolidators that are certified by TSA under the voluntary Certified Cargo Screening Program. TSA approves and oversees participants in this program and conducts security threat assessments of workers who handle air cargo shipments at certified facilities.


And, as Material Handling & Logistics has reported, “The success of a business’s global supply chain…depends on the rigor of their approach to managing and mitigating risks.” The National Strategy for Global Supply Chain Security has been instrumental in outlining its goals of promoting the secure movement of goods and fostering a global supply chain system that’s equipped to withstand threats and quickly recover from disruptions.