The Transportation Security Administration announced this afternoon that it has published new regulations designed to strengthen air cargo security, an aspect of air transportation security that many have thought has been neglected.
The new regulations will affect some 50,000 tons of air cargo transported each day, some transported on the same passenger jets that the American public uses.
According to the TSA, the moves are the first since "substantial" changes since 1999.
Among the changes is the merging of 4,000 Known Shipper lists into one TSA-managed database. The lists are currently organized by private industry. Also in the mix is a requirement of background checks on all employees of freight forwarding companies, even those off the airport. That background check requirement is expected to apply to some 51,000 employees.
The regulations also require that freight forwarding companies which have staff larger of larger than 4,000 to attend a TSA-developed security training program. Additionally, the new TSA cargo security regulations will expand the secure areas of airports so that they include the cargo facilities and ramps.
The TSA says it will institute these new measures with a force of TSA air cargo inspectors that will eventually reach 1,00.
New operational procedures have accompanied the regulatory changes, including using TSA canine explosives detection teams in cargo facilities, and having TSA staff screen cargo delivered to airport ticket counters,