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Author's profile photo Marcus Puschke

Known Consignor: SAP GRC Solutions for the Changing Landscape of Aircargo Security!


Not only do most of us painfully remember tragic disasters from the past (Lockerbie 1988), but more recent events like bombs being found on UPS-planes in October 2010 brought to our attention a subject which had been essentially ignored by the general public: Aircargo Security!

Bearing in mind that around 80% of today´s air cargo is being transported in passenger aircrafts, it suddenly becomes apparent, that everyone of us is affected by this particular subject.

In the light of the above facts, air travel legislation adopts the strict doctrine of making sure that every piece of airfreight within
the supply chain, regardless of its size and weight, must possess the status of being “secure” before entering an aircraft´s cargo bay. This is safeguarded by a logistics service provider with a status of a “Regulated Agent” as the “last line of defense” to check
(x-ray, etc.) the airfreight or alternatively collecting the airfreight from a consignor who himself ensures secure handling of the
dispatched airfreight.  This is currently done by handling a “Declaration of commitments” towards the “Regulated Agent”, which moves the Consignor into the status of a “Known Consignor” to prevent terrorists exploiting the system of integrated logistics.

This rather simple procedure has now changed.  From March 25, 2013 all issued Declarations of commitments will lose their validity.

By March 25 2013, companies within the EU who want their dispatched aircargo to be considered “secured” before loaded into an airplane, need to obtain a formal certificate issued by the respective authorities in order to identify them as a “Known Consignor”.

Legal Background

EU Council regulations 300/2008 and 185/2010 require all companies wishing to sustain their status as a Known Consignor to pass a formal certification procedure.  For this, companies need to set up a security concept (including but not limited to physical barriers, access controls, etc.) and certain parts of their staff need to undergo training. Furthermore, a person responsible for security must be appointed for each single plant where airfreight is handled.

In the US, a similar approach is conducted by the TSA by certifying companies as “Known Shippers” following 911.

Basic requirements

To avoid any unauthorized and unqualified staff to gain access to (at least potential) airfreight, all staff a) having access to information regarding airfreight and b) having physical access to items becoming airfreight must not only undergo security checks as a person, but are also required to attend (often costly) and recurring security-trainings.

Pain Points

Unless a company obtains the certificate of a “Known Consignor” by March 25 2013, their airfreight, from then on, will be subject to
time-consuming security screenings conducted by Regulated Agents, thus resulting in delays and costs. But if a company decides to undergo formal certification, among other measures to be taken, it must make sure that no unauthorized staff has access to identifiable airfreight. That entire staff requires recurring training in order to upkeep the company´s “Known Consignor” status. 
So therefore, if a company wants to limit the number of staff knowing of items being airfreight, while at the same time saving money for costly trainings, the easiest way is to limit the information indicating that a particular item or batch of items is destined to become

That information can usually be retrieved from the software-systems in operation. It is worthy to note that not only are systems within the logistics-department affected, but also ERP-systems or those in production.  To give an example: If on a production site
several batches of items leave the machine, and the person operating the machine can call up order-information for that particular batch which designates that these items are to be sent via airfreight, this person must undergo specific security trainings as well as background checks by the employer.  

Solutions by SAP

Here is where SAP comes into play.  By way of business and solution consulting and providing solutions we can help such customers to comply with the relevant regulations and adopt a higher level of security within their organization.

Business and solution consulting puts customers into a position to develop role-models and access-concepts to prevent any unnecessary information in view of prospective airfreight. By doing so, customers get SAP´s support in creating a security concept in order to determine in which part of the business processes and at what time air cargo-related information needs to be displayed
to whom.

This helps to keep the costs and efforts of air cargo-related security training low as the number of staff knowing of airfreight gets reduced to a minimum level.

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Furthermore, we can help customers check their other requirements for formal certification, such as concepts for physical security (premises, supervision, access control etc.). Critical areas usually are production and logistics. 

Within SAP´s GRC solution portfolio, SAP Access Control monitors the alignment of factual user accesses with the role-model as defined by the air cargo-security concept.

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The Transportation Management solution enables customers to check business partner roles with regard to their security-status and therefore safeguards a secure supply chain.

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Last but not least, SAP´s ECC User Management provides the framework to determine specific role models which allow compliance with the air cargo-security concept (access to transactions, views etc.).

More information

Get more information on all the above topics from the following websites.



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