Regulated Air Cargo Screening Facility (RACSF)
In September 2016, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) announced its new policy direction that consignors not subject to approval by the Aviation Security Authority should be phased out by 30 June 2021. Under this new policy, consignors will either have to:-
(i)be approved by the appropriate authority as a “validated” Known Consignor (KC), or
(ii)become an “unknown consignor” with all cargo subject to 100% security screening prior to being loaded on to a commercial aircraft.
The ICAO’s new policy seeks to enhance the international standards on air cargo security. It will however necessitate adjustments to the existing Regulated Agent Regime (RAR) in Hong Kong. At present, consignors recognized by their partnering Regulated Agents or aircraft operators may have its consignment treated as known cargo. Under the new policy direction, such consignors will either have to be approved by the Aviation Security Authority, or have their air cargo subject to 100% security screening.
Hong Kong has an obligation to meet ICAO’s security requirements. While the ICAO’s new policy would enhance the level of aviation security, it would also have impacts on the air cargo industry in Hong Kong. One way to cope with the impacts is to progressively build up cargo screening capacity in anticipation of an upsurge in screening demand. After consultation with air cargo industry representative bodies, the Government has developed a new scheme to enable and regulate cargo screening in off-airport locations. Under the scheme, interested industry operators such as freight forwarders and shared warehouse operators can conduct cargo screening operations in their premises through registering with Civil Aviation Department to become Regulated Air Cargo Screening Facilities (RACSF).
Another way to meet ICAO’s new policy direction is the validation of consignor as Known Consignor (KC). Trade consultation is underway, and details of the validation would be formulated and announced in 2019.