Successful conclusion of the third WCO-ICAO Joint Conference on Enhancing Air Cargo Security and Facilitation

29 July 2016

The World Customs Organization (WCO) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) concluded their Joint Conference on Enhancing Air Cargo Security and Facilitation in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 28 July 2016, reinforcing 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 more than 70 countries, representing international and regional organizations, regulatory authorities, academia and industry stakeholders.

The Conference discussed various aspects of national and regional cooperation between Civil Aviation and Customs authorities, and called on States to intensify cooperation at the regional and national levels, which is often less well established than on the global stage.

The Conference participants urged the global Customs body and the UN aviation agency to increase their efforts in the area of Pre-Loading Advance Cargo Information and exploit the synergies between Regulated Agent and Authorized Economic Operator programmes.

It was also recommended that the WCO/ICAO Joint Action Plan be updated to prioritize promotion of the implementation of electronic communication channels for air cargo shipments (e‐freight), and the development of advanced screening technologies as key to sustaining a secure and efficient air cargo network; moreover, it was noted that joint work could usefully be carried out in relation to emerging threats, such as attacks by insiders and the possible use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (‘drones’).

The two and a half day event included a choice of two different workshop tracks, with topics covering aviation security, Customs and cross-cutting issues. Several technical visits were also arranged for the participants, to showcase the practical implementation of some of the security and facilitation measures discussed.

At the conclusion of their third Joint Conference on Enhancing Air Cargo Security and Facilitation, the two Organizations issued a joint Communiqué setting out their new priorities and highlighting the significant progress made as a result of the more effective cooperation now established between aviation security and Customs authorities.

Whilst in Malaysia for the Conference, WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya was invited to address more than a hundred new Customs recruits undergoing their basic training at AKMAL, the Malaysian Customs Academy in Malacca. Following the address, he met with senior Customs managers to update them on recent global issues related to Customs. A courtesy call to Malaysia’s newly-appointed Minister of Finance and dialogue sessions with middle management Customs officials at the Customs headquarters in Putra Jaya, also proved to be fruitful.