Yesterday Air Canada said it would stop shipments of all cargo to the U.S.A. due to an "emergency change to US security"
Apparently today, March 10, is the date a number of new, TSA security measures are supposed to be implemented. Unfortunately, details about the new measures seem a bit vague.
The article linked to above includes this passage: "The TSA would not go into the specifics of its security directives, however, it released a formal statement saying it has tightened existing air cargo security for flights to the US due to last year’s terrorist attempt to ship explosives aboard an aircraft.
“'We are working closely with the air cargo industry and intelligence community to institute measures to keep the traveling public safe,' the statement said."
A different article
had this to say about the new regulations:
"Although [TSA assistant administrator of Transportation Sector Network Management John] Sammon would not disclose the requirements in the public forum of the House hearing, he acknowledged air carriers have voiced some confusion with the new rules. TSA would continue to work with all carriers to make certain they understand their obligations, he promised...
"TSA disseminated the new security protocols, developed in conjunction with US intelligence authorities and the air carriers, in legal documents that may be confusing at first glance, Sammon confessed. In addition, they may generate some confusion because they contain a separate set of rules specifically for cargo planes carrying mail only, as requested by shippers such as the US Postal Service."
Now [and this is pure conjecture] one of the reasons (besides the very real possibility of just plain confusion about the rules) Air Canada may have run into some difficulties is because the question of jurisdiction.
"One of the key difficulties the TSA faces is the lack of authority to inspect shipments overseas, along with other regulatory headaches like mail treaties that prevent suspicious mail bags from being opened in interim countries."
Of course, even with with today's changes, the TSA may still not make Congress happy.
"The Transportation Security Administration might not meet the deadline set by Congress to screen all air cargo for bombs or hazardous materials, a government watchdog report released Wednesday said...
"In his testimony, GAO official Stephen Lord warned
that the TSA currently has no way to verify data from air cargo screenings.
He stated the belief that around 80% of inbound air cargo is now being screened, but that along with the 100% of outbound cargo being screened, doubt could creep in that the screening is being carried out to TSA standards if data from air carriers and certified cargo screeners cannot be verified."
Since this still seems to be breaking news (at least to some degree) I'm sure that more details about the Air Canada issue will come to light as soon as I hit post.