This afternoon, many major news outlets are reporting that cargo destination airports have been placed on high alert after investigators found a suspicious package aboard a UPS cargo plane originating from Yemen to Chicago, with a stop in London. According to a breaking news CNN report, the suspicious package contained a ‘manipulated’ toner cartridge. Although this cartridge tested negative for explosive material, the incident has triggered heightened security inspections in at least three other U.S. airports where air cargo shipments originating from Yemen are scheduled to arrive. CNN also notes that the New York City bomb squad was responding to a suspected explosive device inside a package aboard a UPS truck. A White House statement notes that authorities were able to identify and examine two suspicious packages, one in East Midlands, United Kingdom, and one in Dubai.
We will hold any significant commentary until all the facts related to this air cargo security incident get sorted out.
Our two initial observations, however, are that this may lead to increased security measures concerning air cargo in the coming weeks, perhaps adding to transit times. Already, one U.S. Congressman is calling for 100 percent screening of all air cargo shipments. That could be challenging. Package tracking technology will also prove instrumental to authorities in quickly sorting out threat situations.
Stay tuned for any further commentaries.