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TSA gathers info to meet August 2010 deadline for 100% cargo screening

As TSA strives to meet a congressionally imposed requirement that 100 percent of all air cargo  carried on passenger aircraft be screened by August 2010, it is seeking permission to gather voluminous data from air carriers, prospective off-airport “Certified Cargo Screening Facilities” (CCSFs), which would help screen some of this cargo, and “validation firms,” which would validate that the CCSFs were, indeed, taking adequate security measures.

Airports, domestic passenger and cargo air carriers and international passenger and cargo air carriers will be asked to report the volume of accepted and screened cargo transported on passenger aircraft. This data will be fed into a TSA database called the Known Shipper Management System.

TSA estimates that 4,890 companies and organizations that fall into these categories will spend more than 73,000 hours each year reporting this cargo-related information.

Because the volume of cargo being transported on passenger aircraft is too large to be screened exclusively by the air carriers themselves, TSA has also developed the concept of a Certified Cargo Screening Facility, which will conduct cargo screenings, often at its own freight handling facilities located near a U.S. airport, on behalf of the air carriers.

“TSA will allow the regulated entity to operate as a CCSF in accordance with a TSA-approved security program,” explains a TSA notice published in the Federal Register on March 4. “The regulated entities must also submit to an assessment by a TSA-approved validator.”

TSA estimates that 5,663 potential CCSFs and potential validators will spend more than 718,000 hours each year filing the required cargo-related information.

The public is invited to comment by April 5 on both of these information collection requests, which TSA has submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Further information is available from Joanna Johnson, TSA Paperwork Reduction Act Officer, at 571-227-3651 or [email protected].


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