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  • Writer's pictureTeam CargoTalk

Complying with rules to transport HAZMAT from ME

Updated: Feb 8

The complexity of air cargo operations in the context of dangerous goods transportation unveils a fascinating intersection of regulatory frameworks, industry best practices, and the need for continuous education. By meeting these stringent requirements, the industry can contribute to the overall safety and integrity of global air transportation networks.

-Abigail Mathias

IATA working with the ICAO has set rules for shipping dangerous goods on flights. They are substances that when transported are a risk to health, safety, property, or the environment, and are prohibited for global transportation unless certain conditions are met.

The United Nations (UN) has set up a universal system for classification and transport of such goods, which form the basis of regional, national, and global model rules and stipulates how they must be packaged, marked, and labelled to help facilitate their safe transport.

In all, there are nine classes of dangerous goods, some of which have sub-classes, and can be solids, liquids or gases and are classified as per their properties—explosives, flammable, toxic, corrosive, among others. The substance after testing is allocated a UN Number, a Proper Shipping Name, and a Packing Group, which connotes the level of danger. This information is mandatory on HAZMAT transport documentation.

Most dangerous goods are defined by IATA, although some couriers have different rules. It may come as a surprise that goods such as liquids and lithium-ion batteries belong on this list. Specific labeling procedures are required to ensure a safe shipment of lithium-ion batteries. Many airlines are having problems with fires caused on board due to lithium-ion batteries.

Many couriers charge premium rates and an extra charge for ferrying dangerous goods due to the risks involved with handling and processing them. Insurance for dangerous goods is also much more expensive due to the added risk of shipment. Some couriers require customers to take insurance on a shipment to cover both the courier’s health and safety risk.

‘We comply with globally-recognised ICAO’s rules for safe transport of DG’

-Amadou Diallo, CEO DHL Global Forwarding Middle East & Africa

Transporting dangerous goods via air freight requires stringent adherence to safety regulations and certification is essential. The DHL Global Forwarding complies with the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR), a globally recognised certification, obtainables through authorized training centers, that ensures alignment with international standards for the secure handling and transportation of hazardous materials by air.

The DHL’s commitment extends to strict compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air. The comprehensive certification covers different dangerous goods classes, necessitating detailed training for personnel involved in shipping, packing, and ground handling. The DHL’s dedication to safety and security includes hazardous materials training, precise documentation, and robust emergency response protocols.”

Obtain permits for ferrying dangerous goods from GCAA in UAE, GACA in KSA

-Mohammed Bilal Saleem, Manager, Operations & Documentation, Blue Bell Shipping

Ensuring the safe transportation of Dangerous Goods (DG) via air cargo is a critical aspect of the logistics industry.

To acquire certification in the Middle East, Blue Bell Shipping LLC emphasizes compliance with IATA’s Dangerous Goods Regulations and the federal/local authorities in the respective country. Training programmes, such as IATA’s DGR courses and DG Handling awareness courses conducted by NAFL/ DSAA, provide know-how for staff involved in their handling.

Obtaining the necessary license/permits from the authorities—GCAA in the UAE and General Authority of Civil Aviation in KSA—is crucial. Prioritizing understanding of regulations and fostering a safety-first culture are integral to the successful DG transport.

Blue Bell Shipping LLC signs safety level agreements with clients, as well as with our vendors and has transported dangerous goods by adhering to IATA DGR guidelines. We also advise fellow companies to invest in specialized training for their personnel, implement robust safety protocols, and stay informed about evolving regulations.”

Need to invest in training, collaborate with partners for safe transport of DG

-Suchit Sehgal, Managing Director, MEA Logistics Plus

As a key influencer in the logistics sector, ensuring the secure transportation of dangerous goods is a cornerstone of our operations. In the Middle East, securing recognized certifications, particularly the internationally acknowledged IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations, is imperative for the seamless execution of air cargo operations involving hazardous materials. LP, bolstered by IATA certification, has adeptly navigated the multifaceted intricacies of shipments of dangerous goods.

Addressing challenges such as stringent regulations, intricate documentation, and specialized handling demands of danegrous goods, meticulous training and a commitment to international standards.

Therefore, I suggest peers to invest in comprehensive training, adhere to regulations, and collaborate closely with certified partners.This approach guarantees safe ferrying of hazardous goods by upholding the highest safety and compliance standards.”

‘We promote our handlers to use IATA DG Auto Check tool for accepting HAZMAT’

-Thomas Schürmann, Head, Cargo Operations & Delivery, Etihad Cargo

Etihad Cargo’s processes and operations comply with IATA’s Dangerous Goods Regulations and the various national civil aviation authorities. The transportation of dangerous goods to, from or within the UAE must comply with the ICAO Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air and the UAE Civil Aviation Regulations (CAR Part VI, Chapter 2)—Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air.

To ensure compliance with these regulations, Etihad Cargo imparts rigorous training programmes and reviews all documentation, packaging, and labelling during acceptance checks with the aid of Etihad Cargo’s specifically designed acceptance checklist.

Also, we encourage our handling partners to use the IATA DG Auto Check tool for aiding in the document checks and acceptance of dangerous goods shipments at points of origin.

Prioritize training for employees involved in dangerous goods handling

-Ashif Arakkal Pareed, Operations Manager, Freight Forwarding, Zajel Courier Services

In the Middle East, transporting dangerous goods via air cargo mandates certification compliances with IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations and General Civil Aviation regulations. Companies can obtain 4.1D earlier CAT6, 4.1E earlier CAT5&8 certifications through accredited training programmes offered by authorized training centers in UAE.

These courses cover the safe handling, packaging, labelling, and documentation required for transporting dangerous goods goods by air. At Zajel, we have managed the transportation of these goods by adhering to the guidelines.

Our suggestion to other companies is to prioritize training for employees involved in dangerous goods handling, ensure proper classification and packaging of goods, conduct regular safety audits, and maintain open communication with the airlines and regulatory authorities. Compliance and diligence are paramount in ensuring the safe dangerous goods transportation.

Handling on dangerous goods possible with mandatory UAE Civil Aviation rules

-Kadeeja Afreen, Logistics Coordinator, Rajab Express

In the UAE, forwarders are required to be certified by the GCAA for handling dangerous goods, as per the current Civil Aviation Regulations, Part VI. The certificate has a one-year validity that needs to be renewed annually, considering it is compulsory to mention the certification number during preparation of the airway Bill.

The forwarders may visit the link wherein the procedure given in detail. The UAE Civil Aviation Regulations (CAR Part VI, Chapter 2) stipulate that this requirement is mandatory. In addition, a minimum of two people are needed to have the Dangerous Goods Regulations Category-6 training certificates or equivalent issued by ICAO, IATA

Training and Development Institute and other accredited centers.

Being DG certified, we regularly engage in the shipping of dangerous goods for our many regular customers, commodities comprising primarily gases, explosives, weapons and ammo, chemicals, toxic and infectious substances, flammable liquids and solids.”

Need to implement Safety Management Systems, conduct compliance checks

-Abhishek Shah, CEO and Co-Founder, RSA Global

Obtaining certification for transporting dangerous goods via air cargo involves securing a civil aviation-approved DG certificate, commonly known as the Shipper’s Declaration. This document outlines the specifics of the hazardous materials being transported and ensures compliance with civil aviation regulations.

Shippers must complete the dangerous goods documentation, provide details on classification, packaging, and labeling. It serves as a key component in the safe and regulated transportation of DG goods by air. Our company has transported dangerous goods by adhering to IATA DGR and other regulations.

Advice for companies includes investing in comprehensive training for personnel, fostering a culture of safety, and staying updated. What is essential is implementing Safety Management Systems and conducting regular compliance checks. Prioritize industry collaboration to ensure the safe and compliant transportation of dangerous goods.

Certification for ferrying DG to vary depending upon transportation mode

-Joe Lawrence, President, Airline Services International

Given the on-going issues with ferrying lithium batteries by air, there is scrutiny by the regulators, the airlines, the handlers, when it comes to the handling of dangerous goods. The handling of e-commerce goods has raised concern when it comes to the processing of hazardous goods due to the nature of cargo being transported.

Transportation of such shipments is subject to regulations to ensure the safety of people and property. The certification required can vary depending on the mode of transportation—air, road, rail or by sea and the region in which the transport takes place.

As for the certification of the said cargo by air, compliance of IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations and training are a must. If such cargo is loaded on passenger aircraft, there are more rules to ensure parties are compliant with the regulations. The same is the case in case of a freighter.

Follow specific steps to acquire handling, certification of dangerous goods

-Supriya Salve, Strategic Director, Vegat Logistics

In the UAE, the GCAA regulates the transportation of dangerous goods by air. To acquire certification for handling and transporting DG goods, specific steps need to be followed. Enroll in training programs that comply with GCAA norms, which are offered by recognized training organizations and institutions.

Consider completing the IATA DGR training, which is widely recognized internationally. This training programme covers aspects of handling, packaging, labelling, and documentation. Choose training programmes offered by GCAA-approved organizations. The GCAA provides a list of approved training organizations that meet the requirements.

The training programme comprises the required examinations and assessments. This is a prerequisite for obtaining certification. Apart from staying informed about any updates in GCAA regulations, one should also explore the use of technology, such as tracking systems and monitoring devices.

Imparting training along with refresher courses should be made mandatory

-Shakir Kantawala, Co-founder & Managing Partner, Wings Way Training Institute

Imparting training employees of handling Integrating Dangerous Goods handling training into employee work profiles is vital for logistics and transport safety. Mandatory training for relevant roles, coupled with regular refresher courses, ensures personnel stay updated on evolving hazardous material regulations.

This can be achieved by blending classroom learning with practical on-the-job training that enhances the real-world application of theoretical knowledge. Regular competency assessments lead to formal certification, acknowledging expertise in HAZMAT handling. This approach not only aligns with legal and safety mandates but also cultivates a culture of safety within organization.”

‘Even though lithium batteries are not dangerous they need to be declared so’

-Andy King, Group Sales Director, Network Aviation Group

As a GSA, we look after the carriers’ bookings. We have 30 contracts representing airlines. We control the space for these carriers. Restrictive articles are an important part of the business, which we handle.

We manage some cargo planes, which is where we handle HAZMAT on those flights. Most issues we have is with lithium batteries. Electronics have these batteries. Though they may not be hazardous, they need to be declared so.

People are shipping most of their things which include speakers, cameras and mobile phones that have lithium batteries. There are forwarders who deal with dangerous goods, but most of them deal with know how to handle dangerous goods. They have staff who are specifically trained.”


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