Following U.S. and British air strikes in Afghanistan, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has tightened its cargo security rules.
Freight forwarders are to follow a new “known shipper” rule, where they may submit cargo to passenger airlines only if the goods come from a customer that has booked at least 24 shipments with that forwarder since Sept. 1, 1999.
In addition, the shipper must have been doing business with the forwarder before Sept. 1, 1999.
Otherwise, the shipper is considered an “unknown shipper” and the forwarder must validate that customer as a legitimate business. This process includes a visit to the shipper’s premises and a check of the customer’s financial records.
The rule is designed to prevent terrorists from placing a bomb on an aircraft or from shipping chemicals and biological materials that could be used as weapons of war.
A consequence of the rule is that it will be difficult for shippers to change forwarders, and it will be difficult for forwarders to market their services to prospective new clients.
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