The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has announced that passenger air carriers must undergo 100% inbound cargo screenings on international flights, beginning 3 December 2012.
Under implementing recommendations of the 9/11 commission act, TSA will screen all cargo shipments loaded in passenger aircrafts for explosives.
The agency had earlier planned to begin implementing the requirement by the end of 2011, but delayed the deadline due to concerns over the cost and time required for screening all packages.
TSA said to further enhance the air cargo security, without limiting the movement of goods and commerce, it is working with other governments, international organisations and industry partners to establish more risk-based and intelligence-driven procedures into the screening process.
TSA administrator John Pistole said that harmonising security efforts with the agency's international and industry partners is a vital step in securing the global supply chain.
"By making greater use of intelligence, TSA can strengthen screening processes and ensure the screening of all cargo shipments without impeding the flow of commerce," Pistole said.
According to the agency, the operations will select screening approaches, which include risk-based, intelligence-driven processes, on a per-shipment basis, allowing faster scanning of lower risk cargo.
TSA said that the current risk-based security efforts are one aspect of its recent global supply-chain security initiative.
Both domestic and international passenger aircrafts that are loaded with cargo and departing the country's airports are currently undergoing screenings.
TSA has appointed about 500 inspectors for implementation and, further to its domestic inspector workforce, and about 100 internationally-focused inspectors have been employed for assessing and filing security measures at foreign airports.