Businesses need and want predictability—particularly when it comes to government regulations. So the fact that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) updates its technical instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods every two years is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because industry knows the changes are coming and a curse because there are changes coming.
However, these are important safety requirements covering everything that’s transported by air from cargo in the hold of the airplane to the cell phones carried by passengers. With the recent concerns over certain types of phones and tablets, the 2017 update to the regulations has a direct impact on almost every business everywhere.
No one is more focused on airplane safety than the airlines themselves, and their record on that score is amazing with millions of people flying daily in complete confidence. Through their global trade association IATA, the airlines develop their own procedures based on government regulations to ensure that aircraft are as safe as possible. So it’s not surprising that 2017 will see the 58th edition of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR) published.
Based on the 2017 ICAO Technical Instructions, the IATA DGR manual gives detailed instructions on how airlines, passengers, and cargo shippers should comply with national and international regulations on dangerous goods in air transport. These are far more common than people think.
Every day, about $18.6 billion worth of goods are transported by air. We take our laptop computers, cell phones, hair spray, and even our duty-free liquor for granted. But each of those has significant hazards if mishandled, poorly manufactured, or simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Consequently, ICAO, the airlines, and the government have identified them as “dangerous goods” and places a number of restrictions on their carriage by air.
So, what has changed for 2017, and how will it affect your business?
Well, if you ship any kind of lithium battery-powered device, these changes will affect you and your shipping operations. If you conduct any kind of dangerous goods training, ICAO is giving advanced warning of changes to how training will be evaluated in the future, and you would be advised to study these changes. If you ship aerosols, the so-called packing instructions for these have been changed. If you ship any kind of machinery, the way these are described on the shipping papers is changed. And many other changes will affect such products as stabilized materials and even uranium hexafluoride.
In short, the 58th edition of the IATA DGR manual is a comprehensive update on the regulatory requirements for the carriage of many substances and articles, and should be considered required reading by anyone responsible for transport compliance in your organization.
Here are some highlights of major changes:
Note, a number of these provisions are grand-fathered, meaning that that prior requirements are still permissible.
Year after year, no transport mode sees more Dangerous Goods regulatory changes than air transport. That’s why it’s essential to have a complete grasp of each year’s changes as soon as possible.