Info session BCAA hermetically sealed packaging

16 Dec 2021 | General

Following the recently released (EDD) screening instruction of the BCAA, multiple questions were posed by the BRUcargo community. These questions were grouped by ACB and were answered during the Operational Excellence meeting by a BCAA representative.

Hermetically sealed consignments

What is considered hermetically sealed?

Consignments are considered hermetically packed in case the packaging is not air permeable (no air can pass through the packaging). Typically, these are shipments in metal or shipments with a screw cap or a clamp lock. However, in order to be certain whether a shipment is truly hermetically sealed, it is advised to consult the technical specifications of the packaging. These specifications can be provided by the supplier of the packaging. It is the responsibility of the RA to share all available information regarding the consignment with the screening team in order to decide upon the most suitable screening method.

Also the use of a shrink foil is considered airtight. In this case the screener will make small cuts in the outer packaging to make an EDD screening possible.Afterwards these ‘cuts’ are taped over by the screener.

Alternatives to make / consider an hermetically packed consignment as secure?

  1. The known consignor status is a solution for consignments that cannot be subjected to a security check (screening)
  2. Other screening methods than EDD might be used. For example, XRY. This will not be applicable to all hermetically sealed consignments (depending on content, dimensions,..)
  3. If possible, the RA can (if approved by the shipper) open the packaging by temporarily removing the screw cap or a clamp lock, in order to generate an air flow. This makes it possible for the EDD team to perform the screening.

However, the screener decides whether this can be done correctly AND in a safe way for the dog. This depends on both the content of the goods and the dimensions. (The dimensions should be taken in consideration for both the safety of the dog as well as the effectiveness of the screening method)

Ultimately, the consignment needs to be rejected in case it is not originating from a secured supply chain and if it cannot be subjected to a security check.

Dangerous Goods

In exceptional cases, and only after approval by the BCAA (DGLV) who will carry out a risk analysis, alternative screening may be applied. This must be requested separately for each consignment and is only possible in the case of dangerous goods.

There are no guarantees that this request will be granted. The most obvious solution is to apply for the status of known consignor.


Screening by another EDD team

It is prohibited to use a second EDD team (other team from the same screening company and other team from a different screening company) to overrule an earlier decision.

Only the use of another screening method, such as a manual search of the consignment, can be a basis for declaring the cargo secure.

The BCAA will check compliance with these conditions during inspections. Infringements can be sanctioned by administrative sanctions, such as the withdrawal of the RA status, or the public prosecutor can decide to institute criminal proceedings.

In case of an alarm by an EDD team, the procedure in the security programme must be followed, and there is an obligation to report to the BCAA.



REST screening:

The BCAA cannot comment on the practical limits of the REST method, since this has not been used / tested in Belgium, but it is certain that this screening method cannot be used for hermetically sealed consignments.

Furthermore, the use of the REST screening method should be approved by the BCAA. At present, no party has submitted an application for this.


Neighbouring countries

The ban on screening hermetically sealed consignments is already in force today and stems from European legislation. This ban is therefore equally applicable in the neighbouring countries. To the  knowledge of the BCAA, there is no difference in interpretation between the Belgian and fe. the Dutch aviation authorities. In addition, there is a regular consultation between the different aviation authorities to ensure that the specific regulation per country is aligned.


Conclusion responsibilities

The RA is liable for the correct application of the legislation and must ensure that the screening agent has the necessary qualifications to be able to carry out the screening.

The screener does decide autonomously, without interference from the RA, on the most appropriate screening method.