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Air Cargo Advance Screening Pilot

Background

In October 2010, authorities discovered two U.S.-bound packages from Yemen containing viable bombs capable of bringing down aircraft. Forensic experts said the two bombs were bound for Chicago, and attributed this plot to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

In response to this attempted terrorist attack, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Transportation Security Administration have jointly implemented the Air Cargo Advance Screening pilot to target air cargo shipments inbound to the United States that may be high risk and require additional physical screening under the appropriate regulatory framework and protocols.

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Overview

The Air Cargo Advance Screening pilot enables express carriers, passenger air carriers, freight forwarders, and all-cargo air carriers to send and receive advance security filing data and related action messages for air cargo through Customs and Border Protection’s Automated Targeting System, based on three Air Cargo Advanced Screening filing options:

  • Two-Part Carrier Filing – Air carrier transmits advance shipment data for security filing while subsequently transmitting post-departure Automated Manifest System data in accordance with Trade Act requirements.
  • Forwarder and Carrier Dual Filing – Freight forwarder may transmit House Air Waybill data directly to Customs and Border Protection to meet pre-loading targeting and manifest requirements; forwarder and carrier receive Air Cargo Advance Screening responses prior to consolidation and delivery to air carriers. Air carriers accept forwarder cargo for transport after confirming the successful Air Cargo Advance Screening transmission, and perform required screening.
  • Single Filing of Air Cargo Advance Screening and Automated Manifest System data – Air carriers transmit the Automated Manifest System information to Customs and Border Protection prior to loading cargo, and perform all required screening. The pre-loading Automated Manifest System transmission would be used by Customs and Border Protection to satisfy both Air Cargo Advance Screening and Automated Manifest System requirements.

Implementation of a two-way electronic messaging capability will further allow Customs and Border Protection and the Transportation Security Administration to automate the Air Cargo Advance Screening referral process to request additional data, refer a shipment for screening, or in the case of a serious unmitigated threat, deliver a Do Not Load instruction.

Federal employees working together to ensure the Air Cargo Advance Screening

Next Steps

  • Continue testing & analyzing
  • Review message formats & timing
  • Continue to address challenges collectively
  • Encourage early adoption of Air Cargo Advance Screening in lieu of forwarder-provided paperwork
  • Develop program language related to Air Cargo Advance Screening while coordinating industry outreach
Latest revision: 20 December 2012