U-Freight is fully-prepared for the implementation of tighter air cargo screening requirements mandated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
The Hong Kong-based freight forwarder said over two years ago, the U-Freight Group already started its preparations — installing an X-ray machine at its Golden Bear Industrial Centre in Hong Kong, giving staff adequate time to gain experience in the scanning process, as well as helping to identify prohibited/suspect products inside the ever-increasing number of e-commerce parcels it handles.
A second enhanced X-ray machine was also installed in July 2019, which can scan consignments up to pallet size, and the company modified its export operations warehouse to accommodate the existing X-ray machine, as well as the newly purchased one.
“The U-Freight Group fully supports the ICAO aviation security requirements and has worked closely with CAD, Hong Kong Airport Authority, Cargo Terminal Operator and HAFFA in making the necessary preparations to make sure that we enhance our air cargo security regime to meet the new international aviation security requirements," said Simon Wong, UFL’s chief executive officer.
"The establishment of off-airport screening facilities in Hong Kong will enable air cargoes to be screened at the existing warehouses or similar premises of the air cargo industry before such cargoes are transported to the airport for loading onto aircraft," he added.
The phased implementation of the enhanced international standards on air cargo security commenced early this year and will be implemented in phases to achieve 100% screening by 30 June 2021.
To complement the anticipated gradual increase in screening demand, Hong Kong’s Civil Aviation Department (CAD) developed the RACSF (Regulated Air Cargo Screening Facility) scheme to enable and regulate air cargo screening at off-airport locations.
A transitional arrangement has been set up then which will mean that all RACSFs are required to gradually increase the percentage of air cargo being screened.
From January to April 2020, 25% of cargoes (by weight) are required to be screened; increasing to 40% in phase two from May to August 2020; 70% in phase three from September 2020 to February 2021; and a full screening in phase 4 from March until the ICAO deadline.
“We were very keen to capitalise on this opportunity, and were very pleased to have become one of the first freight forwarders and logistics companies to have been accredited by CAD, and are now fully prepared to play our part in the new ICAO regime," Wong said.