[ID] => 11403
[post_author] => 6150
[post_date] => 2019-08-22 09:46:13
[post_date_gmt] => 2019-08-22 08:46:13
[post_content] => As one of the world’s leading air cargo operators, Qatar Airways Cargo (QAC) has to handle a lot of dangerous goods of all types. That adds noise into the cargo acceptance and booking system and sets in place hurdles that airlines have to navigate in order to maintain safety and quality.
“Risks are mitigated when transporting dangerous goods when all rules and regulations are adhered to,” says Guillaume Halleux, chief officer cargo at QAC. “Enforcing a strict set of regulation-compliant operations across all aspects of the process is key to achieving success. Risk only arises due to non-adherence to regulations.”
“QAC has a dedicated team for dangerous goods based in Doha,” Halleux continues. “They are a highly qualified team with several years of experience, who fully support Qatar Airways staff and our ground handling agents globally to ensure all dangerous goods are moved safely throughout the network in compliance with the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations. The team also obtain the State’s approval for the carriage of dangerous goods on all Qatar Airways flights. ‘Safety First’ remains our motto and the team carry out all relevant risk assessments for high-risk dangerous goods shipments before they are accepted for carriage on Qatar Airways flights and freighters.”
Receiving thorough training around specific forms of dangerous goods, and receiving that training regularly, is pivotal to ensuring safety. “All our dangerous goods training programmes are approved by the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA] and all our operations staff throughout the network are trained either in Category 6, 8 and/or 10 as applicable by the regulators and based on their job responsibilities, including recurrent training,” says Halleux.
“We also have a dangerous goods training module for our reservations staff which helps them to answer all relevant queries from customers and shippers,” he continues. “Additionally, we closely monitor the training of all our appointed ground handling agents so that our shipments are accepted and handled by well-trained personnel, ensuring full safety of our aircraft.”
This training is further strengthened by IT systems that ensure compliance and smooth operations. “Our dangerous goods operations are currently managed through Online Services, our in-house management information system, where the entire booking from pick-up to delivery is managed,” explains Halleux. “Acceptance checklists are manually completed for dangerous goods shipments using the IATA DG acceptance checklists. The system controls our embargoes and restrictions and is a state-of-the-art modern tool for our reservations teams.”
Transport providers across all modes have to tackle the problem of undeclared dangerous goods, but the continued growth of air cargo volumes, increasing air passenger numbers and rapidly changing regulations add other dimensions to moving dangerous goods by air. QAC has put in place a structured process to manage the issue of undeclared dangerous goods.
“We undertake a thorough investigation with the origin station and the customer and obtain corrective and preventive actions (CAPA),” explains Halleux. “Once a shipment is stopped pending an investigation, it is only reinstated after a satisfactory CAPA is received and implemented. The dangerous goods team continuously monitors any irregularities and updates our ground handling agents so that corrective actions are taken immediately. All undeclared dangerous goods incidents are reported to the origin civil aviation authorities and also to QCAA in Doha according to the ICAO and IATA regulations. Apart from the dangerous goods, the team also assists to classify non-hazardous chemicals that can pose a potential threat of fire due to high temperatures prevailing in the summer months. Qatar Airways has a separate process implemented for such chemical shipments.”
Being able to accommodate some flexibility is beneficial when airlines handle dangerous cargo, as implementing rigid systems will mean an inability to react to changing volumes of goods and changes in global routes. QAC has “achieved a steady growth around 22 per cent year-on-year for dangerous goods for the last three years,” says Halleux, with the largest volume of dangerous goods coming from Europe. This growth in cargo was highlighted in July as QAC finalised an order for five new Boeing 777 freighters.
Found in a vast array of different items that have become everyday essentials, such as mobile phones, power banks and laptops, lithium batteries have caused problems in recent years for airlines. Damage to or short-circuiting in such batteries and battery-powered equipment can lead to the evolution of heat and fire, which can prove very difficult to extinguish.
“We do not have any restrictions on any of the classes of dangerous goods. However, certain items like lithium batteries have restrictions on Qatar Airways passenger flights considering the safety concerns. Despite these restrictions, exemptions are provided based on reasons such as movement for medical equipment, MRI machines, Formula 1 and Moto GP cars,” explains Halleux.
“Lithium batteries still pose the biggest challenge within dangerous goods,” according to Halleux. “This is mainly due to customers being unaware of the regulations and the inherent risk they pose. Another risk arises from undeclared dangerous goods, including lithium batteries, and also inferior untested batteries being shipped globally.” Currently, QAC’s highest volumes of lithium batteries are moved from north-east Asia.
Assessing the current business environment for air cargo and looking forward to 2020, Halleux believes that education within the industry for a stronger understanding of regulations is needed to ensure safety and growth. “Undeclared dangerous goods are the biggest concern at the moment as they endanger the safety of the aircraft,” states Halleux. “It could be that shippers are deliberately sending shipments undeclared to circumvent or avoid the specific documentary requirements or because they lack essential knowledge on the regulations. Shippers who are entering the market for the first time due to the growth of the e-commerce market also pose a significant risk due to their lack of knowledge on the regulations and identifying the items as dangerous goods. Our experience on lithium batteries shows that the shippers have many misunderstandings on the regulations, on classification and packing requirements.”
[post_title] => Batteries: Head in the clouds
[post_status] => publish
[comment_status] => open
[ping_status] => open
[post_name] => batteries-head-in-the-clouds
[post_modified] => 2019-08-22 09:49:41
[post_modified_gmt] => 2019-08-22 08:49:41
[post_parent] => 0
[guid] => https://www.hcblive.com/?p=11403
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Batteries: Head in the clouds
Qatar Airways Cargo says some shippers fail to recognise the risks they are putting into the air cargo supply chain, especially when they are moving lithium batteries