To ship cargo on a passenger flight here in the United States — “passenger” being the operative word here — your company must be listed as a known shipper with the Transportation Security Administration. Becoming a known shipper is easy enough, right? Just fill out an application and wait for its approval.
Unfortunately, becoming a known shipper doesn’t work that way.
Becoming a Known Shipper
Not only can you not apply for the Known Shipper Management System, but the requirements of this multi-layered program are restricted. TSA has yet to make the information public — nor is it likely to in the near future.
The reason for the secrecy is largely due to why the government created the policy in the first place: to ensure the safety of both domestic and international travel in the U.S. It’s a way of vetting shippers and eliminating any anonymity in the movement of goods.
So, the question is: How do you go about becoming a known shipper if there’s no way to apply?
The workaround is actually rather easy. Those shippers interested in transporting goods by air in the United States should contact their transportation service provider and request to become a known shipper. The provider will then verify your information through the TSA database, and you’ll likely hear back almost immediately. There are a multitude of benefits to being listed as a known shipper.
Becoming a Known Shipper can be a difficult process. TSA will need a few things from you if they decide to investigate your business for the potential of becoming a known shipper. Be prepared to have access to historical shipping records, documents, and information that may provide security to TSA professionals who investigate your business. In order to be listed as a known shipper, you will also need to have past experience with shipping air cargo. If you haven’t done air cargo shipping in the past, there are a few things you should consider.
Keep in mind – it’s difficult to get on the known shipper program if you are a re-saler of goods. More often than not, those listed on the TSA known shipper program are manufacturers of products. This keeps TSA informed that you know what your goods are manufactured from and that the cargo is safe. There are simply too many risks involved in the purchase and resale of goods.
At the end of the day, it’s not an application process that will help you in becoming a Known Shipper. It is entirely dependent on TSA’s assessment and grading of your business practices and security.
If you’d like more information about becoming a known shipper, please contact Interlog USA. Our team will be more than happy to answer your questions.