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DHL boss promises action over air security: report

DHL planes on the tarmac in Wilmington, Ohio, November 11, 2008. Deutsche Post AG will slash 9,500 jobs and halt U.S. domestic services at its DHL Express unit after failing for five years to gain share in a market dominated by United Parcel Service Inc and FedEx Corp. REUTERS/Jay LaPrete

LONDON (Reuters) - Express delivery company DHL on Monday promised better screening of customers and packages before they reach airports in response to recent parcel bombs sent from Yemen and Greece.

“What we need to do is improve surveillance at the pick-up point, have more aggressive screening as items enter our systems,” said DHL Express chief Ken Allen in comments published in the Financial Times.

Last week, governments tightened aviation security after two U.S.-bound bombs sent in air cargo from Yemen were intercepted in Dubai and Britain, while Greece suspended overseas shipment of mail and packages for 48 hours after dozens of small parcel bombs were sent to foreign governments and embassies.

Allen said a “blanket approach” could “end up diverting time and funds from other important security areas.”

“It’s about targeting and intelligence,” he said.

Allen, whose company is a subsidiary of Deutsche Post, Europe’s biggest mail and express delivery company, said it would be practical to have one set of rules for “a well known company sending something to another well known company” and stricter ones for “an unknown dispatching something to who-knows-where.”

Reporting by Karolina Tagaris; Editing by Dhara Ranasinghe