The Global Air Cargo Advisory Group (GACAG) recently announced that it wants the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) - a United Nations special agency tasked with promoting and overseeing civilian aviation - to establish a global standard regarding the safety of airplane shipments.
Supply Chain Management Review reported that while many countries - including the United States, Canada and Australia - have taken steps to update the security measures surrounding airplane-based supply chain management, the lack of a uniform international standard will likely further exacerbate compliance issues and potentially hurt the growth prospects of air shipping.
GACAG "will focus its efforts to enhance the security of the air cargo supply chain, defined as all components of the transportation chain from shipper to consignee, but this must be done in a manner that results in the minimum possible disruption to the vital flow of commerce," the group said in a recent statement. "This will require a global push by the air cargo industry and the relevant authorities to improve risk assessment, tighten standard air cargo supply chain processes, develop viable technology for the air cargo environment, and improve compliance."
GACAG's universal best practices
In its recent statement, GACAG called on the ICAO and air cargo industries to adopt a number of practices to make the air supply chain more secure, including:
- A common set of principles and standards to be enacted by all member states and organizations, based on reducing risk as much as possible
- All airplane cargo should be subject to the same security and safety standards
- Companies turning to air cargo should have to use supply chain software and automated data collection methods to keep tabs on shipments and to ensure standards are met
- To more quickly and accurately process shipments, all involved parties should create an electronic process for declaring goods
- Action taken to screen exports at their country of origin should be taken into account upon the airplane's arrival in its final destination
Patrick Burnson, Supply Chain Management Review's executive editor, wrote in a recent blog post that the establishment of universal security standards for the aviation supply chain is long overdue, and such an effort will likely make the air shipments process far more secure.
"We believe that the key to successful air cargo security lies in the harmonization of international supply chain regulations and standards," Brandon Fried, executive director for the Airforwarders Association, told Supply Chain Management Review. "Leveraging the collaborative mission of ICAO allows all nations to participate in developing a globally acceptable set of standards, guidance and templates that reduce confusion while supporting industry best practices."