¶ … air cargo industry experienced tremendous growth since inception because of various factors in the aviation industry, particularly the freight sector. The growth and development of this industry is evident in its current significance on the freight sector. Moreover, this industry currently accounts for huge profitability in the freight sector because of increased shipping of various packages across the globe. This increased shipping is fueled by increased interconnectedness of people and countries due to rapid technological factors.
However, the industry has experienced tremendous challenges and concerns in relation to security because of the increase of security issues and emergence of new security threats throughout the world. Some of the major security challenges or issues facing the air cargo industry include terrorism, hijacking threat, vulnerability to security breaches, and probable introduction of explosive devices. These security threats are largely brought by the development of sophisticated tools and means for criminal activities by criminals, particularly terrorists. The emergence of these security threats and concerns facing the air cargo industry has contributed to the development of various measures and tools to enhance security.
One of the major ways that have been developed to address security issues facing the air cargo industry is screening air cargo. Comprehensive screening of the content of shipment packages has attracted considerable attention from various industry players because of its consideration as the only means of ensuring sufficient security in this sector. This increased attention and recognition has in turn resulted in the development and approval of different ways or methods of screening air cargo. Some of the major ways of screening air cargo include Explosive Truce Detection, Explosive Detection Systems, physical search, X-rays, and TSA-certified canine teams.
Security Issues Facing Air Cargo Industry
Air cargo industry is one of the most important elements in the transportation industry since it is responsible for transporting more than 35% of the value of total international trade, which accounts for more than $5.1 trillion. The air cargo industry, which is commonly known as air freight industry assists in capitalizing economic prosperity for nearly every country. The significance of this industry is evident in its role in stimulating business travel for every airline and serve as the leading economic signal for business and financial analysts. The air cargo industry has become important across the globe because of the need for increased connection in a fast-evolving global economy. Despite the significance of the air cargo industry, it has faced several security issues given the increase of security challenges across the globe. Actually, some of these security issues that the air cargo industry faces are attributed to the security concerns and issues facing aviation industry.
Overview of Air Cargo Industry
Air cargo can be described as anything other than individuals or personal baggage that travels by air. Air cargo is regarded as the latest addition to the freight industry unlike other ways of freight transportation like rail, ship, and surface vehicles. The industry was started right after World War I and has developed to become a necessary segment of the world's global economy. The growth of the company is attributed to the fact the air cargo industry is holding a significant niche in the lightweight transportation segment and high-value commodities (Popescu, Keskinocak & al Mutawaly, 2010, p.210). Through the infrastructure that has largely been established by public agencies for air passenger travel, the air cargo industry and services links to nearly every part of the world.
As previously mentioned, the air cargo industry has developed to become an important segment in the aviation industry, especially freight sector since inception. The significance and rapid growth of the industry is partly fueled by the need for professional, efficient, and reliable air cargo industry (Sales, 2013, p.xix). This need emerges from the increased interconnectedness of people and countries around the world. Generally, the current fast-evolving global economy has increased the connection between people. Moreover, the emergence of developing countries in the past decade, which are attracting foreign direct investment and increased competition, has created increased global demand that in turn contribute to the growth of the air cargo industry.
Status of the Air Cargo Industry
Since its inception, the air cargo industry has experienced tremendous growth that has contributed to its significance in the freight sector. However, the growth of this sector has relatively declined since the recent global economic recession...
The decline in the growth of the air cargo sector has occurred at airports and airline companies. Given signs of slow economic recovery, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, it is expected that the air cargo industry will experience tremendous growth in the near future. Nonetheless, the expected growth of the industry will take place and be dominated by Asia countries, particularly China and Japan. In America, the air cargo industry is highly concentrated with UPS and Federal Express accounting for nearly 80% of all cargo capacity in the entire country. Apart from dominating nearly all domestic cargo capacity, the Federal Express and UPS account for a significant portion of United States presence in various international markets.
Despite the effects of global economic activity on the air cargo industry over the past four years, especially in relation to cargo growth plans, airports are increasingly recognizing the significance of cargo and adopting necessary measures to generate more shares of this business. This has in turn contributed to increased competition as various airports and/or airlines seek to establish a significant present in this industry and obtain competitive advantages over their rivals. The increased competition, which fuels industry growth, is also driven by belly capacity provided by combination carriers as well as the freight capacity of overseas flag carriers ("Bilateral and Regulatory Issues," n.d.). The other aspect influencing the current growth of the airline industry is the rapid development and expansion of newly emerging economies in Latin America and Asia. It is increasingly evident that the overall outlook for the air cargo industry seems very strong with anticipated steady growth in the near future.
While industry outlook demonstrates positive indicators for future growth, there are several concerns that could hinder the growth of the air cargo industry. These factors include rising oil prices, political uncertainty in several countries across the globe, and unrest in financial markets. Actually, these factors have simultaneously slowed the general development and growth of the air cargo market in the recent past. Moreover, the industry's overall development has been slowed by the increased concerns about the environmental effect of plane trips, particularly in North America and Europe. These factors contribute to the need for improved management and successful management of air cargo.
Security Challenges in this Industry
In light of the increased threats on global security, the air cargo industry has also faced several security challenges in the recent past. These security challenges have considerable impact on the growth plans of the industry. Actually, physical security concerns have become major issues in the recent past though safety and security issues have been major concerns for transport planners and managers for several years. The security challenges facing the air cargo industry have evolved in the recent past because of the evolution of criminal activities, partly because of increased technological advancements. The rapid technological advancements have contributed to increased security threats by making it easy for criminal to develop sophisticated means and tools for achieving their objectives and conducting criminal activities.
The emergence of several security issues and concerns facing the air cargo industry is also attributed to the complex distribution network that characterizes the sector. Air cargo sector is made of a multifaceted distribution network that links manufacturers and shippers to various stakeholders. These stakeholders include off-airport freight consolidators, freight forwarders, and airport sorting and cargo handling sites for loading and unloading shipments from aircrafts. Some of the major security issues facing air cargo industry include
Terrorism has emerged as one of the major security issues and concerns across the globe in the recent past. The emergence of this security threat has been fueled by various factors including technological advancements and the emergence of extremist groups, particularly in Islamic countries. The threat of terrorism has developed to become a major security concern in several sectors including the air cargo industry. Terrorism is one of the major security concerns for this industry because it exploits the safety weaknesses of transportation. Moreover, this threat contributes to the beginning of symbolic activities that seek to destruct and disrupt in order to achieve certain ideological, political, and religious objectives. Similar to other modes of transport, air cargo industry is a key target since the main aim of criminal activities like terrorism is to obtain financial gain through illegitimate transactions like drugs and weapons.
While the events of 9/11 terror attacks highlighted a new set of security threats, the extent and scope of these security threats or concerns on the air cargo industry is even greater (Slack & Rodrigue, n.d.). The increased magnitude of the threat of terrorism on the air cargo industry is attributed to the less regulation…
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