Oct. 1, 2020

Shipper’s Declaration of Dangerous Goods Keeps Shipments on Track and Airplanes Safe

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October 1 marks the first anniversary of the Dangerous Goods Occurrence Reporting Alert System. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) created the system to combat rising incidents, especially related to lithium batteries, among its member airlines.

Once alerted, each airline can make an independent determination of risk and take action. And, one of the first safeguards against unintended consequences is always declaring your DG cargo utilizing the shipper’s declaration of dangerous goods.

Dangerous Goods Alerts

Reports of non-compliance depend on airlines catching errant shipments, using combinations of deep-learning algorithmic screening, human inspection, and canine detection.

Lithium batteries are a frequent culprit—and demand for them is expected to rise by 22% each year between now and 2024.

They’re safe to carry by air, but only according to international regulations and standards. When carried undetected, they’re susceptible to explosion during pressure changes in cargo holds.

Staying Compliant

Maintaining regulatory compliance can help avoid the repercussions of the alert system.

To begin with, formal training and certification is required for anyone who transports dangerous goods. And with that, manufacturers or suppliers must fill out the shipper’s declaration of dangerous goods. The form is required by law and details specific elements of the goods and that the shipper has prepared their shipment in full accordance with the current DG regulations.

Any certified shipper can fill out the declaration, but companies often opt to partner with a trusted freight forwarder with a dangerous goods team. The assistance of dedicated experts can be invaluable, because regulations may apply in unexpected ways.

This year, for example, all lithium battery shippers need to update Safety Data Sheets (SDS) by January 1 to meet the upcoming requirements of the 2021 (62nd Edition) IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations. Without a current and valid SDS, carriers can’t accept the goods.

Keep in mind that lithium batteries contained within equipment, like smartphones or watches, aren’t typically classified as dangerous goods—yet they’re still required to be properly declared to the forwarder and/or the carrier before transport. If shipments containing lithium batteries are not properly declared, businesses could end up in the Dangerous Goods Occurrence Reporting Alert System.

For shippers interested in ensuring proper compliance and documentation, email dg@flexport.com or request a complimentary consultation with product review.

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