Dutch delivery company TNT steps up security following mail bombs

November 11th, 2010 - 5:04 pm ICT by BNO News  

AMSTERDAM (BNO NEWS) — Dutch mail and express group TNT N.V. on Thursday announced it is stepping up its security measures following attempts by al-Qaeda to send mail bombs to the United States.

TNT said it is reinforcing air and ground security controls, including the screening of consignments, in all countries where the firm operates. “This covers TNT’s own operations, but also that of its associates, subcontractors, and partner airlines involved in the transportation of TNT shipments,” the company said in a statement.

“TNT Express is committed to strengthening transportation security worldwide,” said Marie-Christine Lombard, TNT Express Managing Director. “Together with security officials, customers and the industry, we are determined to enforce all reasonable measures to allow the safe transport of world trade.”

TNT said it also carrying out a risk assessment to identify areas where security could e further enhanced. This, according to the delivery firm, includes the evaluation of all airports where TNT operates or plans to operate in the future.

The new security measures come several weeks after two bombs were sent via UPS to Chicago. One of the bombs was found on a UPS plane that arrived at East Midlands Airport in England on October 29. A printer, containing a printer cartridge with explosives, was removed from the plane and eventually made safe.

Another bomb was discovered at a FedEx facility in Dubai, after it had traveled on two Qatar Airways passenger flights. It was scheduled to continue to the United States on another UPS cargo plane, but was found in time.

British police on Wednesday said that the explosive device found in England was set to be activated at 10.30 a.m. UK time (5.30 a.m. EDT). “If the device had not been removed from the aircraft the activation could have occurred over the eastern seaboard of the US,” Scotland Yard said.

Earlier, British officials said that the bomb found in England was powerful enough to bring down the aircraft if had been detonated during the flight. Other officials had also said that it was likely the intention to cause the aircraft to crash in the United States.

Last week, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility for the attempted terrorist attack, saying it will continue to strike American interests and the interests of America’s allies.

In addition, the Al Qaeda affiliate also claimed responsibility for the crash of a UPS cargo plane in Dubai in September. However, local and U.S. authorities have not found any evidence to indicate that the aircraft crashed as a result of a bomb blast. However, the cause remains under investigation.

As a result of the attempted terrorist attacks, the United States on Monday announced an immediate ban on toner and ink cartridges over 16 ounces (453 grams) on passenger aircraft, while extending a Yemeni air cargo ban to Somalia. Other countries have also announced air cargo bans for Yemen.

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