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Information for cargo handling entities in non-EU countries

Air carriers that fly cargo or mail from a non-EU airport to an EU airport (ACC3s ) must ensure that all cargo and mail carried to the EU is physically screened or comes from a secure supply chain which is validated according to the EU regulations. The EU defines between three entities in the secure supply chain:

  • Regulated agent: An agent, freight forwarder or any other entity that handles cargo and ensures security controls in respect of cargo and mail.
  • Known consignor: A consignor who originates cargo or mail for its own account and whose procedures meet common security rules and standards sufficient to allow carriage of cargo or mail on any aircraft.
  • Account consignor: A consignor who originates cargo or mail for its own account and whose procedures meet common security rules and standards sufficient to allow carriage of that cargo or mail on all-cargo or all-mail aircraft only.

For entities to become a third country regulated agent (RA3) or third country known consignor (KC3) they need to submit their relevant air cargo and mail operations to an EU aviation security validation. The validator will assess whether the entity complies with the relevant security objectives by making an on-site verification to the premises where air cargo or mail to the EU are being handled.

A third country regulated agent may designate an entity as a third country account consignor (AC3), but only if that entity acts on behalf of the regulated agent and the regulated agent accounts for the consignor's compliance with all applicable security requirements.

Any entity that is not one of the entities above is an unknown entity and may not be part of a secure supply chain. All cargo or mail coming from an unknown entity needs to be screened by or on behalf of an ACC3 or by a third country regulated agent before being loaded on board an aircraft bound for the EU.

EU aviation security validation

Entities that want to apply for the third country regulated agent or known consignor status may do so in two ways.

Option 1: In case the entity carries out security controls on behalf of an ACC3, it may be validated as part of the ACC3's validation. In this case, the ACC3's security programme needs to set out the details of the security controls implemented on its behalf by the entity concerned. As the validation is intertwined with the ACC3's validation, the status of third country regulated agent or known consignor is only valid for the secure supply chain relations the entity has with this specific ACC3. However, an entity may be validated as third country regulated agent or known consignor as part of the validation of multiple ACC3s.

Option 2: The entity may submit the relevant cargo or mail handling activities to an EU aviation security validation itself. The EU aviation security validator will use a standardized checklist to assess whether the entity has succeeded in complying with the necessary security objectives. If this is the case, the validation report states that the entity is designated as an EU aviation security validated regulated agent or known consignor.  This designation is valid for 5 years.  The validated entity receives a copy of the validation report. Before the entity can become part of an ACC3's secure supply chain, it must provide the ACC3 concerned with a copy of the validation report and the ACC3 must include the details of the third country regulated agent or known consignor in its database.

If the entity has failed to comply with the security objectives, the entity is not authorized to operate cargo or mail for carriage into the EU and the consignments it originates or handles need to be screened before being loaded. In this case, the entity will not receive a copy of the validation report but a copy of the completed checklist stating the deficiencies.

Actions to take

In order for cargo handling entities to become part of the secure supply chain of an ACC3, it is recommended to take the following actions.

1. Where necessary, contact the air carrier(s) with whom you do business and investigate which of the provided designation options suits your business operations best

In case you want to make use of the first validation option as described above, this can only be done with the consent of the air carrier(s) concerned.

The air carrier has received the necessary information from the appropriate authority of the EU Member State responsible for its designation. Therefore, it can further inform you which security controls you need to carry out if you want to be part of the secure supply chain of the air carrier.

2. Familiarize yourself with the EU requirements

The basic security requirements for cargo and mail from non-EU countries may be found in the Annex to Regulation (EU) No 1082/2012 . Regulation (EU) No 654/2013  contains in its Attachments 6C-2 and 6C-4 the checklists which EU aviation security validators will use to assess your compliance with the EU security objectives.

3. Where necessary, update your business operations to comply with the security objectives

Depending on your business and your current security measures, you may need to update your security programme, enhance your security measures or provide for the necessary screening equipment. Your security measures need to be in accordance with at least ICAO standards. In the event you carry out screening, your screening methods need to be in accordance with EU requirements.

4. Contact an EU aviation security validator to carry out the necessary validations

If you are making use of the second validation option as described above, you will need to contact an EU aviation security validator yourself. EU aviation security validations may only be carried out by approved EU aviation security validators. All approved validators you may engage are included in an EU database . More validators will be included in the coming months.

If you are not validated and approved according to the EU requirements, you may not form part of the secure supply chain of an ACC3. As a consequence, all the cargo or mail you forward will need to be screened by or on behalf of the ACC3 or a third country regulated agent before being loaded on board an aircraft bound for the EU.