To seek more efficient customs and border practices for air cargo shipments, in order to facilitate trade and economic growth and to capitalize on air cargo’s key competitive advantage, speed.
A detailed IATA report established that, in 1974, airfreight consignments took an average of 6 days from origin to destination, of which only eight hours were allocated to actual flight-time and twelve hours to useful movement on the ground. The remaining time – more than 5 days - was due to delays, primarily related to Customs requirements.
Recent research shows no improvement in these figures. These delays represent unnecessary handicaps on airfreight markets. TIACA believes there is an urgent need to reduce overall origin/destination timings, to capitalize on aviation’s core speed-through-the air commercial advantage. The principal means to achieve this is through modernization of customs policies.
In most countries, customs authorities serve as the principal government agency responsible for international cargo shipments as they cross borders. TIACA recognizes that, as such, Customs has a legitimate need for relevant information to address security, safety and other transactional compliance matters. That said, TIACA believes it is in the interest of both Customs and industry to ensure that the customs clearance process is handled with maximum possible efficiency and transparency and with minimum possible delays, redundancy and unnecessary documentation. TIACA believes Customs authorities should consult with the trading community to achieve the goals of facilitation and control.
In many countries, Customs handles large sums in import duties and taxes and exercises wide legal powers and measures of discretion. In most countries, Customs acts on behalf of a usually large number of other official border control agencies. Research commissioned by TIACA shows that quality and integrity of customs along with aviation liberalization each uniquely contribute to greater economic development. Taken together, the three variables explain over three quarters of the variance in a country’s GDP and net foreign direct investment.
While there are many intermediate and some exceptional cases, we can make a rough but useful distinction between our key objectives for developed and developing countries.
TIACA aims for a future in which Customs regulations globally are harmonized and limited to only those necessary to ensure compliance, allowing for greater supply chain efficiency and simplicity, and for the concomitant economic benefits that would ensue.
 The Center for Air Commerce, Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, Kenan-Flagler Business School, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, “Air Cargo: Engine for Economic Development”, September 15, 2004