5 tips for air carriers to ensure compliance

Leaving the worst-case scenarios (fines, penalties, legal problems) aside, not being compliant is no fun. It prevents your air cargo operations from running smoothly, leading to a lot of irritations and possible delays. But ensuring that your organization’s operations are running according to the law is not always a piece of cake. Guaranteeing compliance can be a tedious and complex process. 

The solution? A solid framework that allows you to properly manage your export activities from start to finish! Having such a framework in place makes staying compliant with all the necessary international and country-specific transport, import, and export regulations a whole lot easier. So let’s take a closer look at the five basic steps that all air cargo carriers need to take to help ensure compliance.

1. Know the context of compliance checks

The first step to compliance success? Know what you are carrying! Carriers are obliged to know the content of all shipments on board and must check the content and parties involved against the applicable legislation. 

  • What is being traded or transported (goods, quantities, people)?
  • Who is involved in the transaction (consigner, consignee, agent, financier, insurer, carrier)?
  • Where, from which country, via, and to which country will the cargo travel?
  • What is the intended end-use of the transaction?

These are some of the crucial questions you need to answer if you want to be compliant with regional and (inter)national transport regulations. 

2. Understand the latest rules and regulations

Government agencies constantly publish new regulations relating to entities, persons, and/or restricted commodities. They also regularly issue embargoes prohibiting or restricting the transport of certain goods to certain countries. This doesn’t make the compliance equation any easier… No wonder 72% of organizations find it challenging to deal with the ever-changing regulatory paradigms in their key business regions. Staying up to date with the latest regulations helps carriers comply with governments’ investigations and enforcement. As a result, carriers can avoid hefty fines and reputational damage.

3. Watch out for blacklists and red flags

Blacklists and red flags are tricky pitfalls for air cargo carriers. Carriers must check each shipment against all applicable regulatory lists to verify that the involved parties, commodities, and countries do not appear on these lists. Some countries may have embargoes or sanctions in place, which means it might not be legal to ship goods there. For example, several countries (EU, US) currently prohibit the export of certain products to Russia. These sanctions were prompted by Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine. On the other side, the Russian government has prohibited the export of a number of goods to countries that support the sanctions against the Russian Federation. 

ensure compliance

4. Screen all transactions thoroughly

It’s easier said than done, but thoroughly checking all transactions is the only effective way to ensure absolute compliance. Hate it or love it, there is no way around this. So make sure to check all documents against the number of applicable import and export regulations to avoid unpleasant surprises.

5. Be able to prove compliance

Documenting the process is an important final step toward compliance. Organized and structured documentation will ensure that carriers are always investigation-ready. An audit trail and record of context will allow easy tracking of all performed cases and processes. This will help carriers to deal with any issues of non-compliance and pinpoint any possible gaps in their process. 

The final word

Successfully taking and completing the aforementioned steps requires a solid, trustworthy, and user-friendly framework that allows you to deal with compliance issues. With many years of experience in compliance automation, Be Informed and its partners, who are all leading researchers and experts in the field, have joined forces to help you. 

We have created The International Trade & Transport Compliance Solution (ITTS), a solution that enables organizations to automatically check international trade and transport transactions for potential compliance issues. ITTS supports staff in resolving problematic transactions while automatically building an audit trail to provide to regulators.

Would you like to learn more? Feel free to reach out to us!

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Speak to our experts about your issues on international trade and transport compliance.

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