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What is a TSA Known Shipper?

We unpack the meaning of being a Known Shipper and how we can help you achieve Known Shipper status

After 9/11, the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security updated their security requirements for both passengers and cargo travelling via air. 


One of the programs that was developed was called the Known Shipper Management program. 


The purpose of the program is to register the origin shippers in the U.S. with TSA for them to verify the safety and security of cargo that is being transported. By verifying and vetting the shipper, the cargo is assumed to not be hazardous to the people working with airfreight or passengers flying on planes that also hold cargo. 


The TSA Known Shipper program only applies to U.S. Airfreight cargo flying domestically or being exported out of the U.S. You do not need to be a TSA known shipper for U.S. Airfreight Imports. 


To become a TSA Known Shipper you must either be a U.S. registered business or a U.S. resident. A qualified shipper that is a registered Indirect Air Carrier can help appeal the known status to TSA, thus helping to make an entity known. 


Once you become registered with TSA as a Known Shipper, you have the opportunity to transport on passenger aircrafts that also hold cargo. The benefit is that  there are more flights available, more direct flight routings between hubs, and the pricing is often cheaper than shipping on freighter aircrafts. If you are a known shipper, there are less screening procedures at the airport than if you are an unknown shipper. 


Not being a known shipper will most often not affect the ability to ship cargo airfreight, it just makes the options for transportation and cost more limited than if you are a registered TSA Known Shipper. However, there are still limitations to shipping as a known shipper on passenger aircrafts that also hold cargo - your cargo has to be under 62H inches or shorter than 125 Long inches. If your cargo exceeds that size, it will have to fly Cargo freighter plane regardless.