Drum It Up! Steel Drum Industry News, Trends, and Issues

Rogue Lithium Battery Shipments Under Scrutiny

January 21st, 2020 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat, Industry News, Safety, Skolnik Newsletter

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), in partnership with the Global Shippers Forum (GSF), the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) and the International Air Cargo Association (TIACA), are amplifying their efforts to ensure the safe air transport of lithium batteries. The organizations are also renewing calls for governments to crack down on manufacturers of counterfeit batteries and of mis-labeled and non-compliant shipments introduced into the supply chain, by issuing and enforcing criminal sanctions on those responsible. But, we are seeing an increase in the number of incidents in which rogue shippers are not complying. The industry is initiating a campaign to raise awareness of the need to comply. The campaign includes four specific initiatives:

  1. New incident reporting and alert system for airlines: Creating an industry information sharing platform that will allow real-time information about dangerous goods incidents to be reported.
  2. Industry awareness campaign on the dangers of shipping undeclared and misdeclared lithium batteries: A series of dangerous goods awareness seminars has been developed in collaboration with the World Customs Organization (WCO).
  3. Facilitation of a joined-up industry approach: The adoption of a cross-domain approach to include aviation security, manufacturing standards, customs and consumer protection agencies. Currently air cargo is scanned for items that pose a risk to security such as explosives, but not for items such as lithium batteries.

    Responsible shippers rely on government enforcement of standards to protect their investment in training and safe operating procedures. Air freight remains a vital link in international supply chains and it is essential that the rules for ensuring the safe movement of all cargoes are understood and acted on by all parties involved. Safety is aviation’s top priority.

  4. Passengers traveling with Lithium Batteries: Lithium batteries carried by passengers remain a safety focus for airlines. Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) guidance is available to travelers in eight languages detailing what items must be packed in carry-on baggage.
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