International community mobilizes to enhance air cargo security

05 July 2012

International community mobilizes to enhance air cargo security

Singapore, 5-6 July 2012


The Singapore Ministry of Transport, Singapore Customs, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the World Customs Organization (WCO) successfully convened a Joint Conference on Enhancing Air Cargo Security and Facilitation – Synergy through Cooperation in Singapore from 5 to 6 July 2012.

Over 350 delegates from more than 40 countries attended the event, including representatives from relevant international organizations, such as the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and business associations. The Joint Conference was opened by Pang Kin Keong, Permanent Secretary for Singapore Ministry of Transport. In his opening address, the Permanent Secretary reminded everyone of the importance of the air cargo sector and the need to balance security and facilitation in this sector.

The significance of the Joint Conference lies in the fact that it is a landmark event which brings together international civil aviation and Customs authorities, including stakeholders and the private sector, to discuss issues relating to air cargo security and facilitation. These discussions increased greater understanding, and enhanced collaboration and harmonization of the work being carried out by the different entities.

In his keynote address, Raymond Benjamin, Secretary General of ICAO, said that the Conference provided a unique opportunity to discuss common challenges and to be able to learn from each other. Security regulators together with Customs authorities should use better tools and technology to facilitate advance exchange of information on cargo shipments which will enhance air cargo security.

Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General of WCO, in his keynote address, spoke about how the involvement of Customs in air cargo security could enhance security, as they have knowledge about trade and traders. He also mentioned the WCO SAFE Framework of Standards which was developed to facilitate and secure the global supply chain. The WCO and its Members have also made progress in two areas relating to air cargo security through its Technical Experts Group on Air Cargo Security i.e. the sharing of advance cargo information and seeking synergies between the ICAO and WCO security programmes.

Discussion sessions included the following issues: the current situation and the latest developments on threats, challenges and facilitation; challenges faced by stakeholders on policy, strategy, and operational and implementation hurdles; and harnessing synergies by strengthening cooperation, collaboration and harmonization of standards and measures at the international, intergovernmental and national levels.

The following key points emerged from the discussions: the need for cooperation, collaboration and coordination between agencies at the national level, between States at the international level, and between ICAO, the WCO and the UPU at the multilateral level; the call for harmonization, standardization and clarity of standards, rules and processes; good data delivered at the right time is key to support supply chain security; securing the supply chain is not the responsibility of any single agency; and due to the evolving nature of threats, there is a greater need to continue working together.

At the end of the Conference, ICAO and the WCO released a Joint Communiqué on what they believed to be the way forward for both Organizations.

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