Concern for lithium-ion battery shipments
At the 10th annual World Cargo Symposium (WCS) in Berlin, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) called for continued transformation in the air cargo industry with a focus on raising the quality of its offering.
The global air cargo sector continues to face a difficult business environment. The anemic growth experienced since 2010 continued in 2015 with a 1.9 per cent expansion of volumes. And yields have contracted each year since 2012.
IATA estimates that volume growth will increase to 3.0 per cent in 2016. Under pressure from integrators, competing modes of transport (land and sea) and increased cargo capacity in the passenger fleet, yields are expected to fall a further 5.5 per cent in 2016.
“Compared to other modes of shipping, air cargo is a premium service. Yet shippers give the industry a satisfaction rating of only 7 out of 10 on average. That is not good enough. The industry must raise the service quality of air cargo and provide a more personalised customer service,” said Tony Tyler, Director General and CEO, IATA. Tyler also noted that teamwork will be critical in resolving issues around the shipping of lithiumion batteries. In February 2016 the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) temporarily banned shipments of lithium-ion batteries as cargo on passenger flights, pending the development of a fire-resistant packaging standard. Some 400 million lithium-ion batteries are produced each week. Safety concerns arise from several areas: irregular manufacturing, mislabeling and improper packing, including non-compliance with dangerous goods regulations and the IATA Lithium Battery Shipping Guidelines.
“Safety is the top priority. Banning lithium-ion batteries from air freight does not solve the issue of counterfeit or non-declared goods. The issue lies with the lack of enforcement of the regulations by governments.
Under pressure from integrators, competing modes of transport (land and sea) and increased cargo capacity in the passenger fleet, yields are expected to fall a further 5.5 per cent in 2016
“So it is essential that authorities redouble their efforts to enforce the regulations and close the loopholes that prevent prosecutions of serial offenders,” said Tyler.