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Boeing Predicts Return to Growth in Air Cargo Traffic

November 29, 2010 | Comment (1)

The Boeing World Air Cargo Forecast 2010/2011 predicts that world air cargo traffic will expand at a 5.9 percent annual rate over the next two decades, with worldwide air freight traffic expected to triple through 2029.

Released earlier this month, Boeing’s biennial report reveals that air cargo traffic rebounded strongly beginning in November 2009, and then continued on an upswing through the first eight months of 2010. As a result, Boeing predicts that world air cargo traffic will regain its 2007 peak by the end of this year.


IATA Wants Coordinated Response for Air Cargo Security

November 08, 2010 | Comment (1)

Air freight drives the global economy, and the threats originating from Yemen last month have focused world attention on air cargo security.

A few days ago, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) added its voice to the rising chorus, revealing plans to lead a global effort to modernize the 40 year old airport screening process.

According to Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO, there are several areas where more progress is needed to improve air cargo security programs. The list includes: (more…)

Will Terror Threat Increase Air Cargo Costs?

November 01, 2010 | Comments (3)

Last Friday, cargo destination airports were put on high alert after investigators found two suspicious packages on cargo planes bound for the US. The packages were later found to have explosive devices.

Federal mandates now require the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to screen 100 percent of packages aboard all passenger flights. But, there are no mandates currently in place for cargo aircraft.

Will this new terror threat change all that? Should you begin anticipating increased security measures, longer transit times and higher costs for air freight?

Steve Lord, GAO’s director of Homeland Security and Justice said he expects recent events to prompt a debate on Capitol Hill about the screening of cargo flights. “This is a potential area of concern, and this may refocus Congress’s attention on this in the next session of Congress,” he said. Back in June, Lord testified before the House Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure regarding cargo screening on passenger aircraft.

I found it interesting that the New York Times has reported on its blog that shippers are defending the security measures that are already in place:

Maury Lane, a spokesman for FedEx, the carrier for the package that was found in Dubai, said that though the package had arrived via a contract shipping company from Yemen, it had never made it onto a FedEx plane in Dubai. It was, he said, ‘intercepted prior to being loaded on the aircraft, working with the F.B.I. and local authorities.’

An airline official, who did not want to be identified because the subject involved security procedures, said that major shipping companies have sophisticated screening procedures that — in theory — allow them to check packages and letters for explosives and radioactive material. Cargo companies, the official said, often know more about the packages they carry and their shippers than airlines do about their passengers.

Of course, this latest incident is raising questions about these current “sophisticated screening procedures.” Most notably, I would like to know: Are they sufficient? What caused the lapse? And, on a practical level, what will it cost to keep air cargo secure?

Rail Carload Volume Sets New 2010 Record

September 17, 2010 | No Comments →

Last week, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported weekly rail carload volume set a new 2010 record –and that was the second record-breaking week in a row.

The AAR calculated that intermodal traffic totaled 237,006 trailers and containers –an increase of 18 percent from the same week in 2009, and likewise, up 18 percent from the same week in 2008. Compared with the same week in 2009, container volume increased 19.4 percent, and trailer volume rose 10.7 percent. However, compared with the same week in 2008, container volume increased 27.1 percent, and trailer volume declined 16.9 percent.

(In order to offer a complete picture of the progress in rail traffic, AAR reports 2010 weekly rail traffic with comparison weeks in both 2009 and 2008. The 2008 comparison week included the Labor Day holiday, while the corresponding weeks in both 2010 and 2009 did not.) (more…)

TSA Meets Requirement to Screen 100 Percent of Air Cargo on Domestic Passenger Aircraft

August 10, 2010 | Comments (2)

After months of working with the cargo and aviation industries, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced last week that it has met a key requirement of the 9/11 Act by screening 100 percent of air cargo on domestic passenger aircraft.

That’s welcome news, considering Congress had established an August 1, 2010 deadline for this requirement.

To meet the mandate, TSA created the Certified Cargo Screening Program (CCSP), which allows certified facilities across the country to screen cargo before it reaches the airport. Prior to the August 1 deadline, over 900 facilities became CCSP certified, and according to the TSA, this distributed screening effort has enabled over half of the more than 9 million pounds of cargo loaded onboard passenger-carrying planes each day to be prescreened, avoiding potential bottlenecks at airports. (This is an important point, because as you may recall, TSA has been criticized for not developing strategies sufficient to prevent supply chain disruptions that would disturb the flow of commerce. )

The CCSP initiative is part of TSA’s multi- layered approach to air cargo security. The agency’s program now includes: (more…)