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Changes to the Transitional Arrangement for ICAO New Policy Direction

To help the air cargo industry gradually gear up for the full implementation of the ICAO new policy direction, the Government has been supporting and facilitating the air cargo industry in their preparation for the enhanced screening requirements. One of the key measures, as promulgated by the Government in October 2018, is to put in place a transitional arrangement. According to the arrangement, starting from November 2019, the Regulated Agents (RAs) are required to gradually increase the screening percentage of known cargoes consigned by existing known / account consignors, which have not been validated by CAD to 100% in phases before the deadline imposed by ICAO (30 Jun 2021).

To complement the anticipated gradual increase in screening demand, the CAD introduced the Regulated Air Cargo Screening Facilities Scheme in October 2018 to enable and regulate air cargo screening at off-airport locations. The air cargo industry has overall shown good support to the scheme and the response has been encouraging. The Government has been keeping a close watch to ensure that an adequate supply of screening facilities would be available to cope with the gradual increase in screening demand. It is noted that prospective facility operators have been gradually procuring and installing screening equipment, and are making adjustments to their operational workflow to prepare for the screening of air cargo.

The Government fully appreciates the industry’s strong demand to boost the export air cargo throughput towards the end of this year, especially noting the sharp decline in air cargo throughput in the first half of 2019.  In the light of the latest situation of the Hong Kong economy of which the air cargo industry plays a significant role, and in view of recent feedback received from the industry, the CAD adjusted the transitional arrangement on 13 September 2019.  The adjusted transitional arrangement would take effect from January 2020, instead of November 2019 as originally planned.  This would allow the air cargo industry more time to cope with the enhanced security screening requirements amidst the economic challenges the industry is facing.

For the smooth implementation of an enhanced air cargo security regime, members of the air cargo industry, including but not limited to consignors, freight forwarding agents, cargo terminal operators and airlines, are encouraged to take note of the adjusted transitional arrangement and prepare for the gradual increase in cargo screening percentage.

The details of transitional arrangement are as follows:

Transition Phase Date % of cargoes (by weight) required to be screened by RAs
(for known cargoes consigned by existing known / account consignors)
Current screening requirement
(Quality Control Requirement) under Regulated Agent Regime
- 1%
Phase 1 Jan 2020 – Apr 2020 (see note 4) 25%
(see note 5)
Phase 2 May 2020 – Aug 2020 (see notes 4) 40%
(see note 6)
Phase 3 Sep 2020 – Feb 2021 (see note 4) 70%
(see note 6)
Phase 4 Mar 2021 – Jun 2021 (see note 4) 100%
(see note 7)
[ICAO deadline: 30 Jun 2021]

Note:

  1. With effect from the commencement of Phase 1, RAs shall not recognize new account consignors (ACs) by using Account Consignor Declaration of Compliance (ACDoC).
  2. From Phase 1 to Phase 3, RAs can still recognize new known consignors (KCs) and renew the status of existing KCs / ACs by using Known Consignor Declaration of Compliance (KCDoC) and ACDoC, but cargoes consigned by these consignors have to be subjected to the increased screening percentage required for the corresponding phase.
  3. All KCDoCs and ACDoCs recognized by RAs, regardless of the expiry date of the forms, shall cease with effect from the commencement of Phase 4 (i.e. Mar 2021) and will not be recognized by CAD.
  4. Throughout the whole transitional period, RAs are required to provide information to CAD on a monthly basis regarding the percentage of cargo screened. For example, an RA is required to submit information to CAD in early to mid-Feb 2020 to indicate the percentage of known cargoes (by weight) screened during the month of Jan 2020.
  5. Between Jan 2020 and Apr 2020, attainment of target percentage is calculated based on average over the whole period (i.e. 4 months).
  6. Between May 2020 and Feb 2021, attainment of target percentage is calculated on a bi-monthly basis.
  7. Between Mar 2021 and Jun 2021, attainment of target percentage is calculated on a monthly basis.
  8. The screening percentage of unknown cargoes will remain unchanged (at 100%).

More details of the transitional arrangement, including details of relevant submissions to CAD, will be announced by CAD nearer the time.

Entities interested in applying for registration as Regulated Air Cargo Screening Facilities (RACSF) are encouraged to submit applications to CAD as early as possible, taking into account the schedule of the transitional arrangement.