WCO and ICAO agree that a secure and efficient air cargo supply chain is essential for international trade and world economic development

28 July 2016

Brussels, 28 July 2016


Press Release 

The World Customs Organization (WCO) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) concluded a joint conference on air cargo security and facilitation in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia today, reiterating their common message that a secure and efficient air cargo supply chain is essential for international trade and world economic development.

Hosted by the Government of Malaysia, the joint conference brought together over 300 participants from States, international and regional organizations, regulatory authorities, and industry stakeholders.

In his opening speech, Dr Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General of the WCO, stressed that “with the rapid growth in the air cargo industry and growing security concerns, a coordinated and collaborative approach between and among all stakeholders at the international, regional and national level is vital to achieve a safe, secure and sustainable global aviation system, leading to greater facilitation and increased economic growth.”

The President of the ICAO Council, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, reminded delegates of the reasons for holding the conference: "We are here to support a vital and progressive air cargo industry. This means achieving the right balance between security and facilitation…we must strive to do everything we can to prevent disruption of the global supply chain by acts of unlawful interference. Nothing will undermine efforts to facilitate air cargo movements as much as uncertainty about security.”

The conference concluded that a robust regulatory framework, reinforced by good guidance material, was now substantially in place throughout the globe, but recognized that more work was required to ensure even implementation of its provisions. The requirements for achieving this would be high quality and targeted training programmes, focused capacity building, increased use of electronic communication channels and the promotion of innovation, all reinforced by effective quality control and compliance monitoring. Alternative paths to effective implementation were illustrated during the conference by reference to a range of international, regional and national initiatives.

The conference also noted a number of emerging or growing concerns, including issues such as insider threats and Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems – known as ‘drones.’ The importance of a multi-layered approach to security was fully acknowledged as the most effective countermeasure in this environment, with consideration being given to such initiatives as the use of advance cargo information and the latest screening technologies.

Overall, the conference considered that widening and deepening collaboration at all levels would be vital to ensuring a secure and smoothly functioning air cargo network into the future. Only by maintaining good communication channels and disseminating information about best practice would it be possible to reach optimum levels of implementation, and provide a solid foundation for the operation of secure and dynamic air cargo services.