In 2016, the ICAO Council considered the Account Consignor concept, taking into account the views and recommendations of the Aviation Security Panel (AVSECP). The Council agreed with the recommendations of AVSECP that Account Consignors not subject to approval by the Appropriate Authority for aviation security should be phased out within a five-year period, and at the latest by 30 June 2021. States are strongly encouraged to proscribe the designation of any new Account Consignors during this five-year transition period.
After consideration of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Council confirmed there would be no change to this Account Consignor phase out deadline.
Two State Letters were issued by ICAO to inform Member States about these facts, in 20161 and in 20202.
1 State Letter AS 8/2-16/85: Account consignors and similar entities involved in implementing security controls for air cargo and mail (1 September 2016)
2 State Letter AS 8/2-20/126: Reminder – Phasing out of Account consignors and similar entities involved in implementing security controls for air cargo and mail (30 November 2020)
The three options available for new applicants as well as for existing
Account Consignors will be as follows:
a) seek approval as a Known Consignor, if the entity originates the cargo
and its procedures meet common security rules and standards sufficient to allow
the carriage of cargo or mail on any aircraft; or
b) become an unknown consignor, with all cargo subject to 100 per cent
screening prior to being loaded on to a commercial aircraft; or
c) be approved by the Appropriate Authority as an entity other than a
Regulated Agent or Known Consignor which applies security controls to cargo or
mail sufficient to allow its carriage on any commercial aircraft, in compliance
with Annex 17. Such entities should be defined in the National Civil Aviation
Meanwhile, States are encouraged not to designate new ACs and to consider the three alternative options available to such consignors, as further explained in the Guidance for the Phasing out of Account Consignors and Similar Entities Involved in Implementing Security Controls for Cargo and Mail.
When considering such options, the ICAO Aviation Security Manual (Doc 8973, Restricted) contains guidance on ensuring a secure air cargo supply chain, in particular Chapter 13 (Cargo and Mail) and Appendices 30, 31 and 32 thereto.
The above-mentioned guidance includes: an approval process and security requirements for regulated agents and known consignors including guidelines on aligning the customs Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) and the AVSEC Regulated Agent (RA) / Known Consignor (KC) programmes; appropriate methods on the screening of cargo, including guidance on the use of explosive detection dogs; and the establishment of security programmes for entities confirming and accounting for the application of screening or other security controls on cargo for carriage on an aircraft engaged in commercial air transport.
In addition to the aforementioned guidance material, ICAO continues to provide its Air Cargo and Mail Security Course through the Aviation Security Training Centre (ASTC) Network. More information is available at https://www.icao.int/Security/isd/Training/packages/Pages/Cargo.aspx.
Why is ICAO phasing out Account Consignors?
The ICAO Council decided to phase out Account Consignors as this type of cargo entity is not approved by the Appropriate Authority, and their operational procedures are inconsistent with the rest of the air cargo security ecosystem, as cargo handled by these entities is subject to less stringent security measures in comparison to those implemented by Regulated Agents, Known Consignors, or to security levels reached when air cargo is screened. As a result, the ICAO Council required that this cargo be subject to the existing security controls as laid out under Annex 17 – Security requirements.
Once Account Consignors are phased out, does it mean that ICAO will require screening of 100 per cent of international air cargo?
Not necessarily. Screening of 100 per cent of air cargo prior to being loaded on to a commercial aircraft is one of the existing alternatives. But, as indicated above, States that have already deployed a secure supply chain system can choose to approve former Account Consignors as Known Consignors, if these entities originate the cargo and their procedures meet common security rules and standards sufficient to allow the carriage of cargo or mail on any aircraft; or have them approved by the Appropriate Authority as entities other than a Regulated Agent or Known Consignor which apply security controls to cargo or mail sufficient to allow its carriage on any commercial aircraft, in compliance with Annex 17 – Security. Such entities should be defined in the National Civil Aviation Security Programme.
States that still have not deployed such a secure supply chain can also opt to implement one.
Where can I find written information about this regulatory change?
The phase out of Account Consignors does not imply any new requirement concerning air cargo security, as this process is a consequence of Account Consignors not being a concept under Annex 17 provisions. This development is part of ICAO's effort to keep the air cargo sector secure, in line with the risk level this mode of transport faces, and in line with Annex 17 requirements.
The phase out of Account Consignors, which has come into effect on 30 June 2021, is only documented in the two ICAO State Letters mentioned above, and in some parts of the current edition of the ICAO Aviation Security Manual (Doc 8973, Restricted). No references are made in Annex 17 – Security in relation to this discontinuation process.