Regional Workshop on Air Cargo Security and Facilitation – an opportunity for enhanced collaboration between Customs and Aviation Authorities working on the ground

21 February 2019

From 11 to 15 February 2019, the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) held a third joint Workshop on Air Cargo Security and Facilitation.  The workshop was organized at the East African School of Aviation (EASA) in Nairobi, Kenya, with the financial support of the Korea Customs Cooperation Fund (CCF-Korea) and the assistance of the EASA and the ICAO Eastern and Southern African (ESAF) Office as well as the WCO East and Southern Africa Regional Office for Capacity Building (WCO ESA ROCB).  This workshop has been promoted as a part of the ICAO/WCO Joint Action Plan in order to identify the most effective means of cooperation between the two organizations in harmonizing related aviation security measures.

As part of the opening ceremony, Dr. Mugambi G. K. M’Nchebere, Director of the EASA, and Major S. M. Kariuki, Deputy Commissioner - Enforcement and Border Control at the Kenya Revenue Authority, were invited to deliver the opening speeches.  Dr. M’Nchebere welcomed the 33 participants from Customs and Aviation authorities in 18 countries and hoped that the WCO and ICAO would cooperate extensively in the areas of security and facilitation.  Mr. Kariuki emphasized the importance of the harmonization of Customs and Aviation procedures; he welcomed the participants and expressed thanks to the donor and the ICAO and WCO experts for providing an opportunity for the key actors on the ground – the Customs and Aviation authorities in the region – to participate in the workshop.

Mr. Larry Liza, Director of the WCO East and Southern Africa ROCB, said that he was delighted to see this workshop taking place.  He hoped that the workshop would prove to be an excellent means of encouraging Customs and Aviation authorities to cooperate more closely.  He also asked for more workshops to be delivered to other African Members.  In addition, Dr. M’Nchebere expressed his wish for further collaboration with the WCO in trade facilitation-related matters, involving East African Members in line with Annex 9 to the Chicago Convention.

The workshop consisted of seven modules covering various subjects: threat and risk to the secure supply chain; the secure supply chain from both Customs and Aviation Security perspectives; the role of civil Aviation and Customs authorities; WCO and ICAO Frameworks for air cargo security; and risk management models.  The ICAO and WCO experts introduced the concepts of the integrated air cargo supply chain, associated data flows and physical screening measures to ensure the security of the supply chain.  The training modules sought to provide recommendations on how Customs and Aviation can support and complement each other in their daily work.

Other experts from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Universal Postal Union (UPU) gave presentations on behalf of the key organizations involved in the supply chains.  Mr. Getnet Taye, Manager of the IATA’s Regional Office for Africa and the Middle East (AME) gave a presentation on the subject of “IATA’s Role in Air Cargo/Mail Security and Facilitation”, while Mr. Jan Bojnansky, Customs and Transport Programme Manager at the UPU, gave a presentation on the “Role of UPU and postal operators in respect of air cargo and mail”.

The workshop also provided participants with an opportunity to share experiences and identify synergies in Customs and air cargo security processes.  Customs and Aviation officers from 18 countries described their current situation regarding Customs clearance for air cargo, and presented new initiatives aimed at dealing with the growing volume of E-Commerce shipments.  The participants also identified a number of challenges and potential solutions.  All of the speakers highlighted the need for an enhanced collaboration and exchange of information between Customs and Aviation and other border agencies in order to facilitate trade more effectively and develop collective action to meet the emerging challenges in the air cargo and mail supply chain.

On the fourth day of the workshop, participants were given the opportunity to take part in a field trip to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, the DHL Mail Centre and the headquarters of the Kenyan Civil Aviation Authority.  The participants were introduced to the process of air cargo screening and security control, as well as Customs procedures for export and import goods at the airport.  Kenya has implemented both the WCO’s Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) and ICAO’s Regulated Agent and Known Consignor (RA/KC) Programmes.  The delegation also held a discussion with officers from the Kenya Wildlife Service on the collaboration between Customs and other border agencies in combating wildlife crimes.

The workshop participants spent the final day discussing Customs security control programmes such as the WCO’s AEO and ICAO’s RA/KC Programmes, the benefits of sharing information in advance, including pre-loading advance cargo information (PLACI), and the possibility of cooperation between Customs and Aviation security agencies at the airport.  The participants expressed their satisfaction with the practical content of the training workshop, saying that it had provided an invaluable opportunity for the two Customs agencies and Aviation security to gain an understanding of each other through the presentation of the organizations’ roles and frameworks and the current situation in each country.  Many practical issues were analysed together in order to demonstrate that, if the two agencies worked closely together, goods in the supply chain would be processed faster, safer and more efficiently.

The workshop reached a successful conclusion with the Customs and Aviation authorities pledging to work together in an effort to improve air cargo security and facilitation.