US Imposes New Air Cargo Security Rules

U.S. officials, responding to the terror plot last month that used cargo carriers, announced new restrictions and security procedures for international air cargo coming into the United States on Monday, including a ban on certain shipments and a range of tougher screening requirements. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security expanded its bar against shipments coming from Yemen to include a prohibition on shipments from Somalia, and the department said it would no longer allow any shipments deemed high risk on board passenger aircraft. "BvDP"

The department also barred transport of any toner and ink cartridges larger than 16 ounces on passenger aircraft and said the ban would extend to "certain inbound international air cargo shipments." Cargo deemed high risk for whatever reason is already inspected, but DHS said any shipments falling in that category would "go through additional and enhanced screening." DHS said the same measures will apply to international mail, which the department said would have to be certified to be from "an established postal shipper" and will be screened at the individual piece level.

The new restrictions do not include new requirements for advance shipments information, but the agency said it was "working closely" with carriers and other governments "to expedite the receipt of cargo manifests for international flights to the United States prior to departure … to identify and screen items based on risk and current intelligence." The measures follow the discovery last month of two bombs hidden in shipments of printer cartridges that were sent through FedEx and UPS out of Yemen. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a terror group based in Yemen, claims responsibility for the failed attack and also claimed over the weekend that it had caused the September crash of a UPS 747 freighter in Dubai.

Authorities in the United Arab Emirates said last week there was no evidence the crash, which killed two crewmembers, was the result of a bomb. "The threats of terrorism we face are serious and evolving, and these security measures reflect our commitment to using current intelligence to stay ahead of adversaries … working closely with our international, federal, state, local and private sector partners every step of the way," DHS said.

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