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The many industries that make up the world of freight have undergone tremendous change over the past several decades. Each week, FreightWaves explores the archives of American Shipper’s nearly 70-year-old collection of shipping and maritime publications to showcase interesting freight stories of long ago.
Security at Miami International Airport will be increased in November with a move aimed at protecting precious cargo as well as travelers.
Richard H. Judy, Dade County Port Authority director, said the authority, its airline tenants and law enforcement agencies are cooperating to reduce thefts and pilferage at the airport.
He disagreed with the belief of a constable who suggests that a separate airport police force be established to replace security now provided by the Dade Public Safety Department.
“We’re not trying to create a bureaucracy out here,” Judy said. “The Dade deputies are doing a good job — it’s a question of everybody working together.”
Judy said the authority does plan to hire “within two or three months” its first full-time security officer.
“We’re looking for one professional to work with the airlines and to supervise our responsibility, which is securing the terminal ramp area,” Judy explained.
As of Nov. 1, the last of the airport’s freight operations will be transferred from the terminal area to special cargo buildings on the northwest side of the field to give more control, Judy said.
The same day the authority will institute a pass system to limit access to the ramp, where aircraft, cargo, baggage and equipment are most susceptible to vandalism, theft or sabotage.
“Each airline is also putting in an identification system for its employees,” Judy continued. “But that isn’t foolproof. We simply don’t have the capability for checking out each employee.
“Airlines,” he said, “are restructuring ground crews for safer baggage handling. They are also hiring individual security men to reduce losses.”
Constable Ivan Nachman, in a report circulated to county and federal sources, urged establishing a special airport police department headed by a professional who could draw up guidelines for private companies operating at the airport.
“That the safety of passengers and the security of property of those passing through the airport facility is in constant danger is without doubt,” Nachman wrote in a report originally offered to Dade grand jury investigators.
“Every airline is giving constant attention to the security problem,” Judy replied. “They have the competency to make decisions on the degree of security they need, based on cost versus loss factors.
“I have no intention of turning this terminal into a military security installation.”
Judy estimated the annual loss due to theft and pilferage at “less than $100,000.” He maintains, though, that a lot of this can be attributed to wrong documentation of cargo, not theft.
Nachman’s report said that one firm alone reported the theft of $2 million to $3 million in equipment.
Joseph Averill, a special investigator probing the Port Authority operations for the Dade grand jury, said the report was not officially authorized by the grand jury investigating team.
Averill added that he has Nachman’s report but isn’t quite sure what he’ll do with it. He refused to discuss the contents and was critical of whoever leaked the information about Nachman’s report.
This, he claimed, violated the grand jury’s secrecy code.
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