‘It’s like a  Nexus card for cargo’

‘It’s like a Nexus card for cargo’

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Carol Dobson

In this post-9-11 world, undergoing more intensive screening has become commonplace among the traveling public. But, what about the billions of tonnes of cargo that are also transported by air? Does the average traveller ever consider that, even if there is cargo in the belly of the plane taking them on their trip?

“In 2015, a new Canada-wide program was coming into effect that began October 16, 2016 and expanded the entire secure supply chain’s authority to screen all cargo that would be carried aboard passenger carrying flights to prevent and detect threat items in the form of improvised explosive devices and hidden dangerous goods from entering the air cargo supply chain endangering the flying public’s safety,” Shawn Quinn, the President and Chief Instructor of Dangerous Goods Atlantic Consulting and Shipping, says. “This federal counter threat program affected all cargo types, not only dangerous goods.”

This created an opportunity for Quinn’s firm to create a spin-off, Compliance in Motion, headed by his business partner, Elizabeth Villanueva. Compliance in Motion works with the shipper to ensure that goods leaving their place of origin have been pre-screened to comply with Transport Canada’s standards, are shipped by authorized transportation companies and when the goods arrive in the airport, they have already been cleared and are able to be loaded onto scheduled cargo flights without delay.

“It’s like a Nexus card for cargo,” he says. “So, basically, companies that are part of this program are working in partnership with Transport Canada, under its protective umbrella and the goods have been declared to be secure.”

This is crucial to the product most closely connected to our province’s export industry, lobster.

“CIM under Elizabeth’s direction, represents close to if not over 50 per cent of lobster exports daily, to name just one export industry,” Quinn says. “There were two triggers for the lobster industry to become participants — one being cost, as screening fees add 15 to 20 cents per kilogram. Also, once lobster has been packed, it can’t be opened to be physically scanned. There are no x-ray machines in Halifax that can accommodate the volume of lobster we ship and because it’s a perishable product, exporters are on a tight clock to get the product to market.”

As a result, CIM has trained more than 400 Nova Scotians involved in the lobster market, at all levels, in this protocol. While he says, the potential for hiding an IED in a live lobster is highly unlikely, training ‘just in case’ is important for the security of the industry and they’ve established close connections with this important part of the supply chain.

“Last fall, I was fortunate enough to go and visit these clients on the South Shore,” Villaneuva says. “It was a wonderful way to become connected with them.”

As it is, those monster 747 cargo jets that leave Halifax Stanfield several times a week can’t keep up with the demand, with Toronto and Montreal picking up the rest of the approximately $1 billion in exports. The recent announcement of an increase in cargo capacity is good news to Villaneuva and Quinn.

“The lobster industry isn’t the only one we represent,” he says. “We deal with perishable goods, pharmaceuticals, live animals, electronics and even human remains.”

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