Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals (Hactl) – one of the world’s leading air cargo terminal operators – has successfully achieved EU RA3 accreditation, spearheading aviation security standards in Hong Kong. As a result, all cargoes it handles bound for the EU comply with the new EU ACC3 regulations which become effective from 1st July 2014.

Achieving RA3 status required an exhaustive independent audit of Hactl’s premises, staff vetting regime, training, procedures and security measures. The RA3 certificate details Hactl’s compliance with the requirements of the RA3 programme. “The overall security arrangements are comprehensive and robust. The security section is well-run by a highly-motivated team. The premises are secure with appropriate security measures resulting in a generally secure environment not only in the cargo handling area but the building overall,” remarked Mark Medwecki, EU independent validator, at the conclusion of the validation inspection at Hactl.

The ACC3 regulation is the latest modification to security measures covering incoming cargo and mail from non-EU countries. The original measures were announced by the EU in 2011, and introduced in 2012, following the discovery of explosive devices transported as air cargo. The regulations place the onus on air carriers to meet certain standards for security prior to the loading of an aircraft bound for the EU, and to become designated as an “Air Cargo or Mail Carrier operating into the Union from a Third Country Airport” (ACC3). To obtain ACC3 status, the air carrier must deliver a “Declaration of Commitments” setting out how it has complied with aviation security responsibilities of any EU member state to which it flies cargo and/or mail.

Until now, the regulations required ICAO security standards as a minimum; but from July 1st the EU regulations will demand that ACC3’s hold security verifications of their cargo and mail operations at all non-EU airports they serve; this verification process must be conducted by an EU-certified independent validator. An ACC3 may alternatively opt to have security controls applied by its business partners including Known Consignors, Regulated Agents or Ground Handlers at non-EU airports, in which case these parties assume the responsibility for undergoing validation.

Says Andrew Sin, Hactl’s Senior Manager – Security Services: “Hong Kong is a “Green” listed country within the ACC3 regulations, so we are theoretically exempt from the need to apply for RA3 status. However, we regard this as a very worthwhile independent check for our entire security regime, and have therefore applied for certification.”

“The fact that Hactl passed without any issue is a welcome endorsement of our security measures. In the event that Hong Kong’s “Green” status is changed Hactl, with its RA3 certification, will be in a position to handle cargo for all carriers shipping cargo into the EU without any further action on its part.”