Air cargo security is a vital aspect of the global supply chain, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, which has increased the demand for air cargo services. However, the air cargo industry faces several challenges that need to be overcome to ensure the safety and efficiency of its operations. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the critical challenges and solutions in air cargo security based on insights from industry experts and associations.
Challenge 1: Finding Sufficient Capacity
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), demand for air cargo was up 9% in February 2021 compared to pre-Covid levels in February 2019. However, one of the main challenges for air cargo is finding sufficient capacity to meet this demand, as passenger flights that carry loads in their belly have been reduced due to travel restrictions. This makes cargo yields a bright spot in an otherwise bleak industry situation and puts pressure on the available freighter capacity and infrastructure.
One possible solution is to increase the utilisation of existing freighter capacity by optimising routes, schedules, and load factors. Another solution is to convert some passenger aircraft into temporary or permanent freighters, as many airlines have done during the pandemic. Additionally, investing in new and modern freighter aircraft that offer more payload and range can help expand the capacity and network of air cargo operators.
Challenge 2: Digitising Processes and Data
The air cargo industry has made great strides in the last years to harness the power of data to modernise processes and provide transparent services, but there is still room for improvement. The industry must embrace digital transformation and adopt common standards and platforms for data exchange and collaboration. This can help reduce manual errors, paperwork, delays, and costs and enhance security, visibility, and efficiency.
One of the critical initiatives that IATA and the industry are working on is the Advance Cargo Information (ACI) program, which aims to provide regulators with standard electronic information before goods arrive, aiding cargo processing and clearance. Another initiative is the Consignment Security Declaration (CSD), which provides an audit trail of how, when, and by whom specific cargo shipments have been secured along the supply chain. These initiatives help streamline and ensure the flow of information and cargo across borders.
Challenge 3: Enhancing Sustainability and Resilience
The air cargo security industry must reflect the global society it serves and address the environmental and social impacts of its activities. The industry must create equal opportunities for all, embrace technology and innovation, and implement environmentally responsible solutions to protect the planet today and future generations. Moreover, the industry must be prepared to face any disruptions or crises that may affect its operations or customers.
One of the ways that the air cargo industry can enhance its sustainability and resilience is by adopting alternative fuels and technologies that can reduce its carbon footprint and emissions. For example, electric or hydrogen-powered aircraft, drones, or vehicles can offer greener and more efficient air cargo transport modes. Another way is by implementing best practices and standards for safety, security, quality, and compliance to ensure the reliability and integrity of air cargo services.
Furthermore, developing contingency plans and business continuity strategies to cope with changing market conditions or unforeseen events can help the industry maintain its resilience and agility.
Besides these three key challenges, some other challenges may threaten air cargo security in the future. These include:
The air cargo security industry is vulnerable to potential plots to place explosives or hazardous materials aboard aircraft or to hijack or sabotage planes by individuals with access to them. For example, in 2010, two packages from Yemen to Chicago containing printer cartridges with explosive materials were part of a terror plot that intelligence agencies foiled.
Divergent Security Programs
The air cargo security industry faces different security requirements and regulations from other countries or regions that may need to be mutually recognised or harmonised. This may result in duplication of security controls, delays in cargo clearance, increased costs, and reduced efficiency.
The risk of insider threats, including employees with malicious intent, poses a unique challenge to air cargo security. Ensuring rigorous background checks, monitoring team member behaviour, and implementing access controls are essential to mitigate this risk.
Supply Chain Vulnerabilities
Complex supply chains involve multiple touchpoints, making them susceptible to breaches at any stage. Strengthening supplier relationships, conducting thorough audits, and employing secure packaging can help address these vulnerabilities.
Air cargo encompasses various goods, each with unique security requirements. From perishables to hazardous materials, tailoring security measures to different cargo types demands careful planning and adaptability.
The air cargo industry relies heavily on digital systems and networks for data exchange, communication, tracking, and control. However, these systems may be vulnerable to cyberattacks compromising security or functionality. For example, hackers may try to alter or falsify electronic documents such as CSDs or ACIs or disrupt or damage critical infrastructure such as airports or aircraft.
Enrol in an Air Cargo Security Course!
The air cargo industry plays a crucial role in supporting the global economy and society, especially during times of crisis. However, it also faces several challenges that need to be overcome to ensure its security and efficiency. By addressing these challenges with innovative and collaborative solutions, the air cargo industry can continue providing enhanced solutions that meet its customers’ and stakeholders’ needs and expectations.
As you’ve explored the intricate world of air cargo security challenges and innovative solutions, you’ve gained a deeper understanding of its vital role in global trade. Now, take the next step towards becoming a key player in this dynamic field. Enrol in our comprehensive Air Cargo Security Course to equip yourself with the knowledge, skills, and expertise to ensure goods’ seamless and secure movement through the skies.
Join the Australian Training Institute in shaping the future of air cargo security and embark on a journey that will make a lasting impact. Secure your spot today by contacting us on 07 3269 5005 or visit our website!