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Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Transportation Security Administration

Cargo Programs

TSA provides a system for industry to screen 100 percent of cargo transported on passenger aircraft.

100 Percent Screening Requirement

On Aug. 3, 2007, President Bush signed into law the Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007 legislation requiring the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish a system to enable industry to screen 100 percent of cargo transported on passenger aircraft at a level of security commensurate with the level of security of passenger checked baggage, within three years. The impact of the 100 percent screening requirement is that all cargo must be screened at the piece level by TSA approved methods prior to being loaded onto a passenger aircraft.

Air Cargo Screening Technology List

The non-security sensitive air cargo screening technology list provides industry partners interested in becoming a certified cargo screening facility an opportunity to review the current qualified cargo screening technologies.

The security sensitive version of the document serves as an official guide for regulated parties to use when procuring screening equipment in accordance with TSA-approved security programs. Any technology purchased from this list must be utilized in accordance with measures outlined in a screener’s Standard Security Program. This list does not apply to equipment owned by TSA or equipment used in TSA-sponsored tests or test beds. Industry partners may request the secured version after they are approved as a certified cargo screening facility.

The technology list is divided into three sections:

Qualified Technology
Devices that have undergone a formal TSA-sponsored test process and are deemed qualified for screening operations. When procuring a device, regulated parties are encouraged to select from the qualified technology section.

Approved Technology
Devices conditionally approved for screening operations and are currently undergoing, or are scheduled, for field test activities. These devices have up to 36 months from the date added to the approved technology section to successfully pass TSA's suitability-based field test activities. If a device is unable to pass field test activities within the prescribed 36 months, it will be removed from the approved technology section. Due to this fact, regulated parties who procure a device from the approved technology section do so at their own risk. Additional technologies may be added at TSA's discretion.

Grandfathered Technology
Devices currently qualified to screen cargo, but have a stated expiration date. This allows regulated parties who are using the grandfathered technology an opportunity to gradually phase-out the device and transition to devices listed in the qualified or approved sections. Due to this fact, regulated parties should refrain from purchasing devices from this section.

For the Non-SSI version of the Air Cargo Screening Technology List click here for download.  Please note that when procuring screening equipment in accordance with TSA-approved security programs, cargo screening technologies must be selected from the SSI version of the Air Cargo Screening Technology List.

Consent To Search or Inspection

All cargo tendered for transport by air is subject to a search or inspection in accordance with federal regulations. Any person or entity who tenders cargo for transportation by air must consent to a search or inspection, or their cargo will be refused. Consent to screen authorization is required to ensure that shippers are aware that all shipments are subject to screening. If shippers screen their own cargo under the provisions of the Certified Cargo Screening Program, their shipments are still eligible for TSA screening.

Certified Cargo Screening Program

Under the Certified Cargo Screening Program, TSA certifies cargo screening facilities located throughout the United States to screen cargo prior to providing it to airlines for shipment on passenger flights. The program is a practical, supply chain solution, which provides security while ensuring the flow of commerce.

Certified cargo screening facilities must carry out a TSA approved security program and adhere to strict chain of custody requirements. Cargo must be secured from the time it is screened until it is placed on passenger aircraft for shipment. Any facility that tenders cargo directly to an air carrier or indirect air carrier may apply for the program. This includes:

  • Manufacturers
  • Warehouses
  • Distribution centers
  • Third party logistics providers
  • Indirect air carriers
  • Airport cargo handlers
  • Independent cargo screening facilities

TSA principal security inspectors are responsible for the application process and approval of certified cargo screening facilities certification. If you have additional questions, or if you are interested in becoming a Certified Cargo Screening Program participant, please email your inquiry.

Indirect Air Carrier Program

An indirect air carrier refers to any person or entity within the United States, not in possession of a Federal Aviation Administration air carrier operating certificate, which undertakes to engage indirectly in air transportation of property and uses for all or any part of such transportation the services of an air carrier. Each indirect air carrier must adopt and carry out a security program that meets current TSA requirements and is renewed annually. TSA principal security inspectors are responsible for the application process and approval of certification.

Submit your application for the Indirect Air Carrier Program online. Once TSA receives the completed application, it may take approximately 90 to 120 days for final approval.

For further information on the application process or any other cargo related information, please email your inquiry.

Known Shipper Management System

Through the Known Shipper Management System, TSA identifies and approves the known shipper status for qualified shippers in the U.S. Carriers (indirect air carriers and air carriers) must comply with a range of specific security requirements to qualify their clients as known shippers. Shippers interested in transporting goods by air may contact their transportation service provider and request to become a known shipper. For additional information regarding the Known Shipper Management System, please email your inquiry.