Senate adopts Kowall resolution urging FAA to reconsider overly restrictive proposal

LANSING—The state Senate on Wednesday adopted a resolution urging the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to reconsider a proposed policy that would prohibit offset loading of sea-land containers by the U.S. air cargo industry, said sponsor Sen. Mike Kowall.

In offset loading, sea-land containers are loaded along the sides of aircraft, utilizing an aircraft’s restraint system. These containers are particularly important for transporting goods to places where access by road, rail, or port is difficult, including equipment that is vital to U.S. diplomatic missions and medical or relief provisions needed in disaster or epidemic zones.

“Offset loading is a safe, efficient and cost-effective means of transporting containers,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “The FAA’s recent proposal would do serious harm to our air cargo industry and could threaten vital national interests.”

On Dec. 1, 2014 the FAA published a “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” that would expressly prohibit the offset loading of sea-land containers by the U.S. air cargo industry.

Kowall said the FAA’s proposal is based on flawed information and testing methods.

“The FAA safety tests did not reflect the actual methods used to conduct offset loading under the International Air Transport Association standards, which are followed by carriers throughout the world,” Kowall said. “Testing performed earlier this year under more realistic conditions and using prescribed standards demonstrated that offset loading can be used without threat to safety.

According to the International Air Transport Association, there has never been an accident or incident involving the loading of sea-land containers. Kowall said the FAA’s proposal would put carriers in the U.S. at a significant competitive disadvantage to foreign carriers who are not required to adopt the FAA’s proposal.

Copies of Senate Resolution 26 will be transmitted to the administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration and the members of the Michigan congressional delegation.