With the tremendous increase in air cargo and the arrival of tighter security regulations, the Transportation Security Administration wants to forge relationships with members of the cargo community, said Edward Brown, the TSA’s aviation security inspector at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

The transportation administration, which was established on Nov. 19, 2001, with responsibility for the security of people and commerce, is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

During the January meeting of the Independent Freight Forwarders and Customs House Broker Association of Atlanta last week, Mr. Brown discussed how the industry could play a key role in helping to protect air cargo security.

“We need your suggestions because we realized that sitting in our office, we do not know everything,” he said.

There was a 10- to 12-percent increase in air cargo internationally in 2003, which was the largest increase since 1997, he said. The trend continued in 2004, he added.

The airline industry is planning ahead because of an anticipated increase in cargo trade, particularly with China. In 11 years China will boast the second largest economy and 20 years later it will have the largest economy, he said.

He cited as an example the international division of Atlanta-based United Parcel Service Inc., which experienced a 129 percent growth in trade with China last year and added over 26 flights a week to and from China.

Airlines are exploring how to meet the demands created by an increase in cargo loads, he said. Korean Airlines has signed up for 20 new passenger Boeing 747-200 aircraft that can be converted for cargo. The company’s goal is to create the ability to travel long distances, such as between New York and Hong Kong, without refueling, he said.

For more information, contact Mr. Brown at (404) 684-2598 or by email at edward.j.brown@dhs.gov.