The main objective of the project is to implement and validate in real-life environments a system that addresses these security risks and is aligned with the time and cost realities of the air cargo industry so it does not interfere with the trade flow. The project concept is a novel cargo container (Cargobox) and information exchange platform (Cargosyst) that can reduce screening costs and eliminate tampering risks by combining advanced composite materials, secure PIN-code lock, electronic shipping documents (e-freight), web-based software for data storage and a 24/7 fully redundant communication systems based on Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, GPS and GPRS technology for continuous real-time visibility. The solution has already been developed to a prototype stage and tested with TNT Express (SME instrument phase 1 completed without EC funding).
The European Union has a robust and well-established air cargo and mail security regime wherein all cargo and mail should be physically screened or come from a secure supply chain participant before being loaded onto an aircraft, which raises two major challenges:
Cost: the physical screening of cargo is extremely costly and time-consuming, making it impossible to implement for 100% of the cargo; the 100% screening mandated by TSA in 2012 for passenger air carriers originally defined screening as a physical examination or non-intrusive methods of assessing which cargo poses a threat to transportation security (i.e. explosives detection technology, canine teams or physical search) but achieving this level of scanning for all international cargo was not possible. This has led TSA to pursue a risk-based approach (using a variety of sources to evaluate risk, such as intelligence and documentation) that does not rely on physically inspecting every piece of cargo.
Supply chain integrity: even with 100% physical screening, the supply chain security is only as good as its weakest link; numerous industry and government studies have identified vulnerabilities in the security procedures of air carriers and freight forwarders, such as the adequacy of background checks for persons handling cargo, opening up the opportunity for terrorist to tamper with cargo during land transport from the point when freight forwarders. The CITRIMACC project (SME instrument phase 2) will implement a large-scale pilot with specific air transport carriers. The project objectives have been structured in 4 key areas supported by specific exploitable results (Table 1) that define clear, measureable, realistic and achievable key performance indicators.