IATA urges governments to enforce regulations on shipment of Lithium batteries

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United Bank for Africa

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has urged governments to enforce regulations regarding the carriage of Lithium batteries by air due to safety issues.

Mr Alexandre de Juniac, Director General, IATA, made the call while speaking at the 11th World Cargo Symposium, which opened in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

A copy of de Juniac’s speech was obtained by Newsverge in Lagos.

Newsverge reports that IATA had, from Jan. 1, 2013, adopted much stricter regulations for the carriage of lithium batteries due to their susceptibility to discharge or explosion.

De Juniac noted that the need to address safety concerns with the shipment of lithium batteries was an example of where partnerships was critical.

According to him, industry and government have worked together to put in place regulations based on global standards, so that lithium batteries can be shipped safely.

“The problem is that the regulations are not being enforced. We still see too many examples of abuse, including mislabeling of batteries.

“We ask governments to step up enforcement and take a tougher stance against rogue shippers.

“They have the power to impose significant fines and custodial sentences on those violating the regulations. We ask that they put these in place to stop the violations,” he said.

De Juniac said air cargo was highly regulated, noting that governments must be on-board with IATA’s vision of transforming the industry to make it successful.

He further identified other key areas where the industry needed the support of governments to implement global standards.

“The adoption of the Montreal Convention 1999 (MC99) governing the regulation of acceptance of digital documentation by governments is a critical perquisite for the e-AWB.

“To date, 124 countries have implemented MC99. But some key countries where air cargo has an important role still need to come on board. These include Thailand and Vietnam,” the IATA boss said.

De Juniac said it also included the adoption of revisions to the Kyoto Convention of the World Customs Organization, which facilitates smart border solutions that reduce complexity and cost.

He added that the quick implementation of the World Trade Organisation’s Trade Facilitation Agreement would make trade cheaper, faster and easier.

De Juniac called on the air cargo industry to accelerate modernisation and focus on delivering high quality service.