Regulated Air Cargo Agent Regime

Introduction

Singapore has implemented the Regulated Air Cargo Agent Regime (RCAR) with effect from 1 April 2008. It is a security measure to enhance air cargo security on commercial passenger aircraft and is a requirement by the International Civil Aviation Organization. This measure is necessary to ensure the safety and security of commercial passenger flights in view of the global terrorist threat.

The Singapore Police Force and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore have been consulting and working closely with the industry for many months to prepare for RCAR.

Principles of RCAR

RCAR is based on the underlying principle that aircraft shall operate in secured environment, thereby requiring consignments of cargo transported on commercial passenger aircraft to be subjected to some degree of security measures before they are loaded onto the aircraft. Security measures will be used to screen and clear cargo. Cargo that has been cleared shall then be protected from unlawful interference or contamination until they are loaded onto the aircraft.

Why you should become a Regulated Air Cargo Agent

Air cargo agents may register to be Regulated Air Cargo Agents (RCAs) and be included in the List of RCAs maintained by Police. Air cargo agents who do not wish to register as RCAs may continue their current operations but entire consignments of their cargo will be subjected to full security measures at the airfreight terminals. Charges will be imposed for the application of these security measures and they will be borne by the respective air cargo agents.

RCAs on the other hand, will enjoy random screening of their known cargo as they would have already adopted an acceptable level of security in their business operations.

Criteria to be a Regulated Air Cargo Agent

In order to qualify as a RCA, the air cargo agent must be a legal entity registered in Singapore. The air cargo agent will be required to put up a security programme as part of its registration application which will detail the basic security measures and procedures across its entire supply chain including the storage, packing and transportation of cargo.

Registration

To register as a RCA, the air cargo agent shall submit a duly completed application form and the following documents to support its registration:

  1. the name, registration number and address of the air cargo agent’s business, company or limited liability partnership;
  2. the business profile of the air cargo agent’s business, company or limited liability partnership including details of its:-
    1. principal activities;
    2. principal place of business;
    3. trading name if it differs from the name of the business, company or limited liability partnership; and
    4. sole proprietor, managers, partners, directors, office bearers and shareholders;
  3. the air cargo agent’s Security Programme if the application is made on or after 1 Oct 2008

Security Programme

The security programme is a document that describes the security measures and procedures to be used by RCA in securing and clearing consignments of cargo. It contains details of the RCA and its operations as well as a list of security personnel and third party service providers. In addition, it also specifies the standards of protection for cargo including the physical security of these premises. This security programme must be submitted to Police for approval. The approved security programme must be fully implemented and complied with by the RCA. RCAs can expect to be audited by the Police on its compliance with the security programme.

Security Screening at Airfreight Terminals

Security measures will be carried out by the Cargo Terminal Operators when RCAs lodge their cargo at the airfreight terminals. It is important that RCAs differentiate their cargo into known and unknown and inform the Cargo Terminal Operators accordingly so that the correct levels of security measures can be imposed on the different cargo. This can be done by indicating on the export control form accordingly. Known Consignor should be represented by indicating “KC” on the export control form just beside the MAWB number. Similarly, for Unknown Consignor, it should be represented by indicating “UC” on the export control form.

Only cargo from known consignors and RCAs will be deemed as known cargo. Unknown cargo, referring to those that are not from known consignors or RCAs, shall be fully screened and the screening charges borne by the air cargo agent.

The criteria to recognise a consignor as known consignor is determined by the Police and will be made known to the RCAs.

(Note: This practice shall only apply to RCAs)

Audits

RCAs are expected to audit their own operations and self-evaluate their compliance to the approved security programme and to maintain records of such audits. Police will conduct surprise audits on the RCAs to ensure that the RCAs implement their security programme in its entirety and that it complies with all the conditions imposed by Police.

Subsequently in 2011 and later, the RCAs will also be required to engage an accredited auditor (who are recognised by Police) to audit its compliance with the approved Security Programme not more than 6 months before the expiry of its 3-year registration. RCAs will bear the cost of this audit and will need to pass the audit 1 month before the current registration validity expires before its registration can be considered for renewal.

Last Updated on 11 August 2017