LONDON (AP) - Shipping company UPS has been barred from moving air cargo through some U.K. facilities because of security flaws, the British government said Friday after it carried out security
The Department for Transport gave no details on the security
issues and didn't identify the locations involved. Atlanta-based
UPS said the restrictions were the result of a government security
check rather than a specific threat.
"Following careful consideration, the department has restricted
the number of sites in the U.K. at which UPS Ltd. are permitted to
screen air cargo until it has satisfied current security requirements," the U.K. transport department said in a statement.
The department said it could not give any details about the
blocked sites for security reasons.
UPS spokeswoman Susan Rosenberg said six of the company's
British facilities - including its main air hub at East Midlands
airport in central England - were still operating. She would not
say how many facilities had been shut down.
UPS told customers Friday that shipments from Britain were being
delayed. It said "areas of concern" were found during a
government review of "UPS procedures and employment documentation related to security."
It said some facilities were temporarily taken offline, which
has led to some delays in the movement of packages.
"UPS has activated contingency plans, communicated with
customers and expects service levels to return to normal early next
week," the company said in a statement. "UPS continues to work
with all agencies around the world to maintain and enhance security
and to balance necessary protections with the free flow of
commerce, just as we have always done."
No other air freight companies were mentioned in the U.K.
The vulnerability of air cargo to terrorist attacks is a major
worry for international security agencies.\
Last October, two bombs were sent disguised in toner cartridges
on cargo flights from Yemen bound for the United States. One was
discovered at a FedEx cargo facility in Dubai, the other at the UPS
depot at East Midlands Airport, 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of
Officials said the bombs were viable and could have exploded in
mid-flight. Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula was blamed for the
plot, which was foiled by a tip-off from Saudi intelligence.
Britain suspended all unaccompanied air cargo from Yemen and
Somalia after the thwarted plot, and officials in Britain, the
United States and other countries promised to tighten air cargo
Despite the heightened alert, in March someone shipped a hoax
bomb - which had a timer, wires and a detonator - to Turkey via the
UPS office in London.
Philip Baum, editor of Aviation Security International, said
that since the toner cartridge plot "there has been a greater
focus on air cargo security regimes, but that does not mean a great
deal has changed."
But he said the UPS restrictions should be seen as positive.
"It means that problems have been found and are being
rectified," he said.