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ACCOUNT CONSIGNOR (AC) CHANGES

 

POTENTIAL IMPACT/AFFECTED INDUSTRY SEGMENT:

 Passenger, all-cargo, charter operators;

 Regulated Agents/Forwarders;

 Postal Operators;

 Shippers

 

 

BACKGROUND:

 Amendment 13 to Chapter 17, in 2012 in the ICAO Aviation Security Manual, Document 8973 removed distinctions between security controls applicable to types of aircraft, but many member States continue to utilize AC in their security regimes, to enable a distinction between cargo allowed on types of aircraft, and thus also the application of appropriate security measures for each.

Changes in Annex 17 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation (the Chicago Convention) have led to numerous discussions on the status and description/categorization of shippers in the air cargo supply chain, including Account Consignors (AC). Although classification and/or description of ACs is not now described in Annex 17, the category remains in the ICAO Aviation Security Manual, Document 8973, and Guidance Material currently still makes reference to ACs.  There has been ongoing discussion within the Working Group on Air Cargo Security (WGACS) and Aviation Security Panel (AVSECP), which includes industry participation (including TIACA) on the possible full elimination of AC

The risk-based, outcomes-focused philosophy adopted at the ICAO  High Level Conference(Sept 2012) is subject to some measure of interpretation, including that different security measures may be applied across the air cargo system on the basis of risk, provided that they are founded on a set of common baseline standards. (emphasis added), and that “common security baseline” does not mean “identical” security measures or controls. In some regimes, the term “commensurate” is sufficient to enable differentiation of such measures, based on an assessment of risk.

A key concern of some regulatory parties is related to the level of regulatory oversight provided by any Appropriate Authority over any program or measure to identify and categorize shippers, especially in programs where AC status is granted by carriers or Forwarders/Regulated.

Currently, there is no clarity/consistency by which shipper categories are designated by MS, nor is the means of designating them. The following categories co-exist:

·         Known Shipper: designated via database, shipper not necessarily engaged in the process

·         Known Consignor/Regulated Shipper: designated by various means, including site visit and/or inspection, but not in all cases. May or may not be considered or recognized as “screened”, depending on MS program details. Shipper may/may not be engaged in the process

·         Account Consignor: designated by member state (or as authorized)

·         Not specified (or Unknown): limited to aircraft type

·         Certified Cargo Screening Facility (CCSF): inspected and validated by Member State itself, continual oversight and direct regulation, considered as “screened”. Shipper directly applies and heavily engaged.

·         Trusted Shipper: relationship based on RA and/or carrier records, may require program-specific screening measures to be applied. Shipper usually not engaged.

Currently, the WGACS is evaluating the way forward toward either full elimination of the AC category, or, more formal security measures (and regulatory oversight) through which the category may be sustained. Elimination of the category would likely also eliminate the category of “SCO” (Secure for Cargo aircraft Only) on Cargo Security Declarations (CSD’s), and e-CSD’s.

 

REGULATORY TIMELINES:

 

While no looming regulatory timeline exists, ICAO WGACS is obligated to provide clarity and a way forward for AC for the upcoming AVSEC Panel session in April 2016. It has been proposed at the WGACS meeting in September 2015 in Paris, that the WGACS members provide recommendations and guidance for the way forward (eliminate or clarify/more strongly regulate AC’s) by  the end of November 2015, for a decision. Industry and regulators are invited to provide input. A discussion on the potential elimination suggests that as much as a 5 year period may be needed to change programs if AC is eliminated.

 

 

ACTIONS/RESULTS TO DATE:

 

A determination of how to formally close the discussion on AC has been a topic of the bi-annual WGACS meetings since April 2014, with arguments supporting both courses of action. For the most part, industry prefers the retention of some type of AC program, and the distinction of shipper categories. Some regulatory parties, including several with a large number of existing AC’s, also support the continuation of the program, with perhaps increased oversight in some manner, while others propose full elimination. Some countries, such as the UK and Germany, have eliminated the category. In Germany as a result, the number of Known Consignors (KC) fell from over 40,000 to between 3-4,000, with the result that regulated parties now must screen shipments from the former KC’s

  


CHALLENGES:

 

- cost as well as an operational impact on both regulators and industry.

-Industry may have to physically validate AC locations (over 18M in the US alone)

-Significantly increased number of shipments screened by RA’s, cargo operators, charter operators

-Shipment delays due to increased number of shipments screened

-Current lack of high-volume x-ray technology (bulk screening)

-Impact on Postal item screening

 

 

INDUSTY IMPACT:

 

Carriers: 

 

            -increased volume of higher level screening

            -cost of equipment

            -cost of training

            -risk of mode shift

            -cost to re-program SCO (if eliminated)

          

Forwarders/Regulated Agents, Postal Operators

             Increased volume of higher level screening

            -cost of equipment

            -cost of training

            -cost of shipper site verification

            -additional regulatory requirement, training

            - cost to re-program SCO (if eliminated)


Shippers

            Delayed shipments (may be significant)

 

  

 

TIACA ACTIONS

 

  • Closely engaged with ICAO WGACS as a full member.
  • Proposed review all shipper categories and programs as a whole before taking any action in this regard. Then, over time, WGACS and AVSECP could take appropriate actions to either refresh the language relating to ACs, or make studied decisions when all factors, including economic and operational impact on carriers, other regulated parties and regulators themselves, are fully considered.
  • Will lead survey effort and report to WGACS.
  • Working through TIACA committees to develop position paper/proposal supporting longer term effort to strengthen AC regimes without significantly placing burden on any industry segment, and promote development of efficient /effective bulk x-ray equipment.

 

 

Questions?

Contact secgen@tiaca.org

 
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