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IATA cautions airlines, cargo handlers on dangerous cargo

IATA cautions airlines, cargo handlers on dangerous cargo

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has advised airlines and freight forwarders to handle dangerous cargo with precautions.

At a two-day workshop held this week in Addis Ababa, experts of IATA cautions airlines, cargo handlers and freight forwarders on the transportation of dangerous cargo by air. Hosted by Ethiopian Airlines at the Ethiopian Aviation Academy, the IATA Cargo Workshop on Dangerous Cargo attracted 60 delegates from 23 countries representing airlines, cargo handlers and freight forwarders.  

Andre Majeres, IATA, Manager of Cargo, Mail and E Commerce, highlighted the international standards that need to be applied in handling dangerous cargo. “We want to share our knowledge and experience in handling cargos to the region. There are thousands of ground handlers and thousands of airports that creates potential for deviation in operational efficiency. So what we are trying to do is to create a standard for a harmonized way to work all around the world,” Majeres said.

The growth of cargo globally impacts everyone. IATA sees a global growth of 100 percent in the next 15 years. The cargo industry in Africa, too, is growing. African carriers like Ethiopian Airlines are investing heavily on cargo fleet, cargo terminal and technologies.

IATA experts stressed the need to follow global standards and guidelines in handling dangerous good like lithium ion battery to ensure safety. “To ensure safety there are two things, which are extremely important at governmental level – making sure that what is manufactured is complaint with regulation. Second it is important that all actors of cargo supply chain are compliant with the dangerous goods regulation,” Mejeres said.

IATA demands airlines, cargo handlers and freight forwarders to screen cargo and handle dangerous cargo in accordance with international regulation and guidelines. 

Africa’s largest cargo airline, Ethiopian Airlines Cargo and Logistics Services, claims that it is fully compliant with international cargo regulation and guidelines in transporting any cargo in general and dangerous cargo in particular. Fitsum Abadi, Managing Director Ethiopian Cargo and Logistics Services, said that his company which has the largest cargo flight network in Africa strictly follows the IATA cargo handling regulation and guidelines.

“Dangerous cargo are useful if they are properly handled. But they can harm the environment and human beings if they are mishandled and exposed. Like any other international carrier Ethiopian Cargo transports dangerous cargo like lithium battery in accordance with the international safety standard set by IATA,” Fitsum said. “We hosted this IATA regional workshop because we want to share knowledge and experience of handling dangerous cargo,” he added.

Ethiopian Cargo and Logistics Services operates ten B777 and two B737 freighter aircraft. It has 57 dedicated cargo destinations but together with the passenger belly hold capacity it serves 130 destinations. Each B777F aircraft has the capacity to carry 103 tons of cargo while the B737F aircraft carries 22 tons at a time.

Ethiopian Cargo daily transports 1.6 million kg of cargo to fro its main hub in Addis Ababa of which 70 percent goes to other countries. Currently, Ethiopian Cargo handles 450,000 tons of cargo annually generating more than USD 800 million. The company targets to boost its revenue to USD two billion by 2025.

Ethiopian has built a state-of-the-art cargo terminal which has the capacity to handle 1.2 million tons of cargo per annum.

IATA is a trade association of airlines with 290 airlines representing 82 percent of the total global air traffic.