Global terrorism has now more than ever more created an urgent need for more stringent security measures to avert this threat. Players in the cargo industry are now taking proactive steps to seal security loop holes in their operations by adopting systems and processes that hinder the chances of terror activity in the cargo they handle and within their premises. Moses Wahome, the Siginon Aviation Divisional Manager states “Security is a supply chain issue. The cargo vigilance has extended to verification of the cargo source. For instance, in the case of flowers we want to verify the cargo right from the farm through to the airline and onto its final destination so as to fully secure the cargo chain. The default action is more on pre-empting and preventing security lapses than on curative responses. There’s a lot more profiling moving players to a ‘known shipper regime’ with a preference of individuals who are regulated agents.”

In as much as the threat to security remains vivid today, cargo handlers are more preoccupied with mitigating the myriad of risks involved in their daily operations. The impact of this pre occupation has led most companies to invest more in security related manning and equipment such as access controls, thorough cargo screening and detection of explosives.  David Kiptum, Siginon Aviation Safety and Security Manager asserts “Safety and security remain the focus of cargo processing. We are aware of the threats and we are putting in place measures that are commensurate amongst our staff and also we are acquiring supporting security equipment”.

Siginon Aviation, a ground handler recently opened a new USD 10 million cargo terminal in Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). The state of the art facility boasts of high standards in security to ensure high standards of safety and security in their operations. Moses asserts that security has become an overriding factor in service delivery; “With this new terminal, security is greatly improved. We regularly conduct security risk assessments so as to also tighten all loopholes.” This security awareness has extended to regulators and airline customers who frequently audit ground handlers to gauge the level of security preparedness. David adds; “The JKIA stakeholders have heightened their security awareness to ensure the sanctity of their cargo operation. This is reinforced through elaborate security equipment and rigorous staff training programs that have been put in place to ensure vigilance on security matters. The general security awareness has greatly contributed to a reduction in security incidences” The Siginon facility is equipped with high end security equipment including x-ray machines, advanced CCTV systems and explosives detecting equipment. Operationally, the Siginon staff undergo regular security training, conduct 100% cargo screening including placing strict controls on the access to the airport airside adjacent to the Siginon facility. David adds; “Customer confidence and the general business environment has also improved following the high levels of cargo security.”

David concludes “Terrorism is a global problem that is being collectively handled by all stakeholders. All the players at JKIA have taken the responsibility to play their role in tackling this issue. We are having frequent engagements comprising of the regulated agents, law enforcement agencies, airport operators, catering, airlines, Civil Authorities and other government agencies and regular information sharing to enhance our operating environment and nurture business.”