13 Mar 2009

New security directive could hit Marshall Island businesses

5:49 pm on 13 March 2009

A Marshall Islands exporter says he's one of a number of local business people hoping Continental Micronesia Airlines can negotiate successfully with the US Transportation Safety Administration for exemptions to a new security directive.

The Administration has told Continental Airlines that freight can no longer be accepted from individual shippers, and must be forwarded through a cargo agent, consolidator or freight forwarder.

There are few licensed cargo agents in the Marshall islands and local businessmen in Majuro say the directive adds another layer of paperwork and cost that will make their products less competitive.

The manager of Majuro-based TSL Enterprises, Mike Slinger says he doesn't know why the new directive is being introduced, but that it if it's in the name of increased security, the new measures won't make a difference.

"The freight forwarder or the cargo agent does not inspect our cargo . All they do is they receive it, deliver it to the airport. And Continental checks it. It's got nothing to do with... there's no additional layer of security."