The research highlights the challenges in the air transport of dangerous goods

Purely illustrative image – Source: Floripa Airport / Zurich Brasil Airport

International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Labelmaster, together with Dangerous goods bulletin (Dangerous goods bulletin), have published the results of their seventh Annual Dangerous Goods Confidence Review 2022 (Global Hazardous Substances Trust Forecast to 2022). The research results highlighted the need for greater process consistency, greater automation and more reliable data in order to facilitate the safe transport of dangerous goods (DG – Dangerous goods).

According to Robert Finn, vice president of Labelmaster, global disruptions in the supply chain have put even more pressure on the professionals and companies responsible for the safe and compliant delivery of goods.

“While there are many areas for improvement over the past year, the survey showed a broad awareness of the need to improve the General Administration’s processes, training, technology and infrastructure,” says Finn.

Nick Careen, IATA’s senior vice president for operations, safety and security, says the airline industry handles more than 1.25 million DG shipments annually, and the growth of e-commerce and the proliferation of lithium in global supply chains are two indicators that the number of shipments DG will grow.

“To handle DGs safely, we need to further improve compliance with global standards. Almost any item can be shipped safely as long as we have well-trained professionals who follow globally agreed standards and are supported by the right technology and infrastructure,” explains Careen.

Key findings and recommendations

There is a solid foundation for compliance:

– Almost a quarter of the respondents (24%) stated that the compliance of the General Administration is a competitive advantage; and

– Another 37% said their organizations exceed what is required by regulations, while 39% only adhere to minimum requirements.

There is an awareness that critical improvements are needed:

– Only 25% believe that their organization’s current infrastructure is equipped to meet future needs; and

– 82% believe that their organization’s investment in General Administration cannot support future regulations or changes in the supply chain.

Confidence in key aspects of DG management was around 50%, indicating areas for improvement:

– 64% said they believed in their ability to handle return logistics;

– 56% said they received quick/quality responses from regulatory bodies;

– 55% were convinced of the reliability of the registry data;

– 55% believe that technology is sufficiently used to support secure shipments;

– 53% said that the rules of the General Administration are easy to apply;

– 52% have the necessary budget;

– 48% believe that there is sufficient support from the C-suite;

– 48% noted sufficient regulatory implementation of the rules of the General Administration; and

– 48% were convinced of their organization’s compliance with the DG.

The majority of respondents (67%) indicated that their organization is willing to work with top management in most or all locations. The main priorities are identified as:

– Process automation (61%);

– Compliance of processes throughout the supply chain (59%);

– Access to complete and accurate data (52%);

– Obtaining special permits, letters of interpretation, etc. (48%); and

– Ensure that training is effective and up-to-date (45%).

Four main recommendations emerge from the research:

Technology: automate General Administration operations and establish reliable processes in the supply chain;

Training: use 3D training or gamification experiences to better train and recertify employees;

Packaging: Leverage new packaging solutions to further improve efficiency, security and compliance; and

Regulations: Use digital regulatory materials to keep DG professionals up to date.

Finn adds that the research shows that it is critical for organizations to assess their General Administration operations and identify processes, infrastructure gaps and areas of opportunity. “The good news is that achieving significant improvements need not be difficult or require significant investment.”

Careen concludes by adding that companies don’t need to reinvent the wheel. “IATA has digital solutions to improve compliance. DG AutoCheck, for example, automates the complex and time-consuming manual task of checking that each shipper’s declaration is compliant and that packages are correct, labeled, marked and packed, improving efficiency. This simplifies processes and increases security.”

IATA information

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