Skip to main content

Test Home
You & IATA


You are here: Home » Publications » Cargo Tracker Newsletter » November 2013 » Security update

Enhancing air cargo security through risk assessment

In a world where interconnectivity is essential, transport security is a priority for all countries around the globe. Such security is constantly challenged, which has led for example the US, Canada and the European Union to launch risk assessment pilot programs to strengthen air cargo security.

In order to ensure that the global supply chain remains secure and efficient, the creation of international standards is critical. US, EU and Canada, among others agree that the place to develop such regulations is within the WCO’s SAFE Framework of Standards.

39 airlines participate in US ACAS pilot program

Set up after a shipment of explosives was sent to the US from Yemen in 2010, the Air Cargo Advance Screening (ACAS) pilot focuses on the risk assessment of air cargo prior to the aircraft’s departure. The program is now covering the 85% of the shipments destined for the US. Currently, 39 airlines are part of the trial program and the period to join has been extended until 23 December 2013.

The number of ACAS transmissions to date has exceeded 100 million. 80% of these took place at least two hours prior to loading/departure. Only 5% of the transmissions are post departure, and this figure is diminishing as airlines familiarize themselves with the procedures.  

According to the US Customs and Border Protection Agency, the quality of the data submitted is generally very good. However, a few airlines have experienced initial problems that are being rectified. In respect to the airlines requiring secondary consideration or further action following the initial application of risk analysis, 1.22%required secondary consideration leading to 0.1% further actions. To date no “do not load” messages have been issued.

Legislation making ACAS a mandatory process is currently foreseen for mid-2014.

Europe moves on cargo security with PRECISE

The Pre-Departure/Loading Consignment Information for Secure Entry (PRECISE), launched by the European Union, is expected to follow the same principles as US ACAS in terms of data requirements. This project commenced with express operators and now includes all-cargo and passenger carriers. Seven Member States have undertaken desktop exercises with airlines to examine data availability.

Legislation making PRECISE a mandatory process is currently foreseen for the second half of 2014.

Canada’s PACT goes live

The Pre Load Air Cargo Targeting (PACT) pilot is expected to run for two years and Standard Operation Procedures have already been developed with seven participating volunteer air carriers (non-express carriers). This includes the provision of the same data set considered in ACAS and PRECISE.

In October 2013, PACT moved from simulation mode to live data testing. Canada Customs recently confirmed that in a first phase only carriers will be permitted to provide PACT data. Other parties (e.g. freight forwarders) will also be allowed to submit information in the future. Changes in legislation are foreseen at some stage but Customs has not specified a timeframe.

Going through ACC3 with CEIV

From July 2014 onwards, all air cargo carriers operating into the European Union (EU) from third country airports not designated on a "Green" list will need an EU Aviation Security Validation to maintain or acquire their ACC3 designation. In order to guide air cargo carriers through the new EU ACC3 regulations and designation, IATA launched its Center of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV).

Eleven member states that represent more than 86% of all ACC3 required registrations in the continent have already accredited the CEIV training course. Currently, 65 individuals are accredited as Independent Validators and almost 600 others have attended a series of awareness presentations in four continents.


Additional information

© International Air Transport Association (IATA) 2015. All rights reserved.