2019 has proven to be an eventful year thus far for the world of supply chains, and particularly pivotal for the proper classification of goods. With several vessel fire incidents, one which led to the sinking of an entire ship just last week, and two airline explosions in the past several months, there is a major need for increased scrutiny and review of materials in transit.
Alarmingly, a recent IATA shipper survey revealed that nearly 40% of shippers are unaware of the strict regulations around dangerous goods, yet many are overseeing and coordinating the logistics and distribution of products that would be classified as such.
With the rise of many smaller e-commerce businesses, there can be a lack of general knowledge and education about DG regulations, which presents a great risk to the supply chain and people’s lives.
Take for instance, are lithium batteries considered a dangerous good? These devices are found in everything from our laptops, to cell phones, tablets, smart watches, etc. While these devices are not considered freight, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has a provision in their Dangerous Goods regulation that addresses lithium batteries carried on by passengers in their Personal Electronic Devices (PEDs). Items are allowed as carry-on, however there are limits surrounding the quantity that each passenger is allowed. So the answer presents a gray area, but an uneducated shipper may circumvent regulations out of sheer ignorance, opening the door to a potentially catastrophic outcome.
It is the duty and responsibility of every party within the supply chain to ensure a clear understanding of all rules and regulations, especially when it comes to dangerous goods and the potential risk they present to the world at large.
In particular, shippers should ensure a thorough background check is performed on their logistics suppliers prior to entering into any type of partnership.
Parties who are purposely finding loopholes or exercising intentional ignorance should be penalized and chastised, accordingly. The risk is far too great to be able to afford any mistakes, whether intentional or not, with the declaration of goods. One Dangerous Good related event is one too many.