The Global Trade and Commerce Association, Inc. (GTCA), a non-profit organization providing educational programs on global trade, hosted the first Air Cargo Security Summit. More than 100 in attendance left with a much better understanding of what must be done to get enough companies certified under the U.S. Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Certified Cargo Screening Program (CCSP) to meet the government’s mandate to screen 100 percent of all cargo aboard commercial airlines by August 3, 2010.

Cheryl Stockstadt, president of GTCA and LimitLess International, a key sponsor of this event and a provider of international air and sea freight services, said, “The TSA and trade groups such as GTCA must do more to inform and help prepare shippers. This event is only the first in a series GTCA is planning to conduct around the country to assist in this effort.”

TSA’s Marc Rossi and Doug Foster were on hand to answer questions about the role the CCSP will play in overcoming the hurdles inherent in a 100 percent screening requirement. This session and several others provided an excellent opportunity to learn precisely what needs to be done to prepare for the August 2010 deadline to ensure compliance. “The industry has a lot of work to do,” said Rossi, a branch chief for the TSA’s Certified Cargo Screening Program. “There will not be enough Certified Cargo Screening Facilities (CCSF) to meet the demands of the supply chain at the current rate of certification. Programs like this are essential if we are to meet the deadline. It was good to see so many people at this summit, but there should have been over a thousand here,” he said.

Thomas C. McDaniels, Jr., Senior Professional Staff, Committee on Homeland Security, U.S. House of Representatives; Jennifer Arangio, Republican Counsel, Committee on Homeland Security, U.S. House of Representatives; and Holly E. Woodruff Lyons, Republican Staff Director and Senior Counsel, Subcommittee on Aviation, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee were the guests of honor and speakers at the first day’s luncheon. Everyone on the panel mentioned that they came to hear from the private sector and to learn more about the issues related to the industry working with the CCSP. They felt that they needed to hear industry’s concerns regarding meeting the mandate and to take them back to Congress. Arangio mentioned that, “Homeland Security needs to be a public/private partnership. We need a balance between security and the free flow of commerce.”

Equipment from GE, L-3 Communications, and Smiths Detection was on display during the first evening’s reception, giving attendees an opportunity to see first-hand the latest technology being used to assist in this effort. Attendees spent day two in industry specific workshops, listening to panels from Agriculture and Biotech/Pharmaceutical, as well as discussing supply chain security issues.

Presenting these summits is part of an effort to educate air shippers and others in the transportation industry on the importance and ramifications of a congressional law requiring the screening of all air cargo placed on passenger jets by August 2010. Non-compliance could result in delays in cargo movement. This possibility adds considerable importance to TSA’s educational efforts.
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