A new category of anxiety for art shippers

A new category of anxiety for art shippers

Here's a frightening scenario for artists and galleries moving art around the world: the possibility that airline employees in the States could open art crates to search them in the way baggage is often checked now. The US Transport Security Administration has mandated that beginning on 1 August, all items shipped as cargo on commercial passenger plans will have to go through airline security screening. 

Since news of the requirement began to spread last year many large museums have enrolled in a federal programme that allows them to create screening facilities within their own buildings, thereby minimising the risk of being re-screened by airline staff. Many large art shipping companies have also become certified to screen and securely pack art themselves. 
While art shipping experts say the burden of the new regulations will fall more heavily on dealer galleries and others working in the art market, they may also impact on art museums. Even the faint possibility of an airline inspector opening a crate and unpacking/repacking it may be enough to cause collectors to think twice about lending artworks for exhibitions.
You can read a NYT article on the new regulation here.