Cargo Security


Cargo in aviation refers to items or goods apart from those involving postal corporation services, which need to be transported by use of an aircraft. The security of the cargo in the aviation sector is an important aspect which determines the progress of the services. This issue can also affect to a great deal the trust that the customers have for the respective aviation company. The cargo should be secure from tampering or use by unauthorized persons other than those to whom it is addressed. This paper aims to determine the reason as to why cargo security is regarded as the weakest point in aviation and the various policies which have been adopted to control this problem.

Cargo security

The measures used to provide cargo security in aviation sector are intended to protect the cargo from unintentional harm while in transit or before delivery to the final destination. In aviation, most revenues come from the cargo transportation as compared to the passenger transport. This means that the aviation industry cannot actually survive without cargo transportation. It is predicted that the returns from the cargo transportation in aviation are likely to increase by far than the passenger transport again adding more weight to the importance of this sector. Some of the technologies that need to be exhaustively applied in aviation cargo security can include the use of devices that can detect explosives, use of tamper resistant methods of cargo and container packaging, identification of workers at the cargo points by use of biometric systems to reduce cargo theft and the use of tamper evident packaging methods (Singh & Singh, 2003).

The transport and security act also states that there needs to be a measure that ensures that the cargo being transferred in and out of the united State is secure from any form of damage. A thorough assessment of the security issues in relation to security should be carried out based on the past experiences as well as the capabilities. Having analyzed the threats, then the vulnerability of the aviation company to such threats should be closely monitored so that in case there are any gaps existing, then their solutions can be sought early enough (Petty & Floyd, 2004).

According to Kasarda & Green, 2005, decreased security risks translate to reduced delays as well as few controls when transporting cargo. The government should be also conducting a frequent audit on the aviation cargo handlers so as to ensure that only the authorized persons engage in this activity. The adoption of the secure supply chain policy guarantees the shippers and business people that the cargo will not be interfered with in any way in the course of its transport until it reaches to the recipient. In the United States, since the bomb attack in the year two thousand and one, various measured have been taken to tighten security.

The weakest part

If the safety of the cargo is not guaranteed, then the clients are likely to seek cargo transport services from other service providers (Sewell et al., 2013). Therefore, all the necessary measures by the cargo aviation companies and in other cases by the government need to be put in place. The increased advancement in international business necessitates that some cargo must be transported by air, for instance, the perishable products in horticulture. Domingues et al.,2014 argues that the security of the cargo needs to be at the heart of any aviation company because its ignorance can cause devastating consequences to the international economy. Some of the adverse effects that can result from the insecurity of cargo in aviation include the losses in diverting traffic, loss of lives, and lack of trust between the airline and clients, and interruption of businesses.

Adenigbo, (2016) states that air cargo is of concern because it is very unique from other transport systems because due to its international nature, it involves some form of inland transport system. It involves a complex and detailed process which encompasses very many participants such as shippers some of whom work routinely while others are occasional shippers, and manufacturers who need to distribute their products to different places in a region or outside a region. Freight forwarders are also crucial to the cargo aviation because they consolidate and deliver the shipments to air carriers as well as those who provide storage facilities. These accommodation facilities ensure that the cargo is safely and properly stored until it is finally delivered to the aircraft for transport.

Some of the dangers that can cause insecurity that the cargo is usually exposed to include placing of explosives in the aircraft carrying cargo, sabotaging and hijacking of the aircraft, illegal transportation of dangerous goods, theft of goods, smuggling and tampering with the cargo being transported from the land when the cargo is being taken to the aircraft for transportation facilities which handle cargo in air carriers and freight forwarders. In order to ensure that the cargo in the aviation companies is safe, it is important that full screening of the cargo is done although some critics think that this full screening is expensive. These full screening and other security measures are very important in the minimization of the possible risks that may arise while the cargo is being transported. Some critics argue that if every cargo was to be screened may be through an electronic device, then only a small portion of the cargo in a day would be fully screened (Moore, 2015).

This means that both physical as well as electronic screening methods in cargo cannot be logistically and technically feasible. Aviation cargo experts believe that the most cost friendly screening methods involve the application of risk managed goods profiling protocols so that the shipments that have the highest risks can be identified and be physically inspected. Some of the best procedures to be used to ensure the safety of cargo in the aviation industry include giving priority to the information which aids in determining the consignments which could be at high risk, increased vigilance and screening of cargo with controlled and restricted entry into the consignment storage facilities. Moreover, the private and public sectors should be in partnership such that only the accredited cargo carriers and handlers in aviation are allowed to be in operation because security risks are likely to be more (Gillen & Morrison, 2015).

Legislative powers exist

There are legislative powers that have been put in place to ensure that the cargo in the aviation industry have been secured. These powers range from local to international powers (Clyne, 2002).

Local Legislative powers

The police in the United Arab Emirates are tasked with ensuring that security measures are taken on the ground in aviation. This means that the police handle all ground security issues while the complex issues are left to other legislative levels of aviation.

National legislative powers

The General civil aviation authority in United Arab Emirates was established in order to provide aviation services laying emphasis to safety and security of the passengers and cargo. It controls the aviation cloud in middle east by determining the navigation routes and setting out prohibited flying areas (Able-Thomas & Hill, 1996) The general civil aviation authority supervises the repair of aircrafts in accordance to the required safety standards. It also controls and regulates the civil aviation functions in the United Arab Emirates to provide en-route navigation functions (

International legislative powers

In an effort to provide cargo security in aviation, the IATA set up several initiatives so as to make the supply chain more secure. The consignement security declaration is used to give a report who was responsible for the security of cargo in a supply chain. The advance cargo information initiative by IATA provides information concerning the cargo before arrival so as to speed up the process of aviation clearing (Nygren et al., 2009). The cargo security capacity building initiative provides a collaboration between the manufacturers and carriers in provision of cargo security. The main offices are at Abu Dhabi while the regional office is at Dubai.


The United Arab Emirates airline has successfully been able to be the largest carriers by adopting the standards of the General civil aviation authority which provides safety and security to its clients. On the other hand, the Kenya Airways became the first African airline to be certified for qualifying the requirements for IATA certification. This certification was as a result of the airline being able to meet the ground operations audit requirements (Anene et al., 2013).


In most instances, it would be the wish of a cargo aviation company to screen each and every cargo for security purposes, but again with the low technological capabilities, this detailed screening can cause negative effects. The slow nature of the screening equipment that is available would mean that more time needs to be taken to screen all the cargo. The time sensitivity of the aviation industry, this lengthy time means that there would be delays in flight and hence increased losses. Again full screening of the cargo needs to be done in a swift yet a cost friendly manner while still aiming to enhance cargo security. Given the nature of the aviation industry and the cargo transportation, it is very important that the aviation operators put at heart the need for cargo security. This calls for cooperation between governments, States and private sectors since this security would require a lot of time and high costs, yet the benefits would be huge in terms of the revenues from cargo transportation.


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