Cathay Pacific Cargo introduces indemnity scheme for DG misdeclarations

Additional control scheme aims to eliminate incidents with dangerous goods

‘Safety first’ is not just a mantra – it is the philosophy that underpins every Cathay Pacific Cargo operation, particularly when it comes to dangerous goods (DG). One of the primary concerns in recent years has been the proliferation – fuelled by e-commerce – of consignments of lithium batteries or products powered by them, alongside some newsworthy incidents involving aircraft fires.

‘The carriage of undeclared or misdeclared dangerous goods are potential threats to aviation safety,’ says Frosti Lau, GM Cargo Service Delivery. As a result, from 24 January, Cathay Pacific Cargo has implemented an ‘additional control scheme’ for any undeclared or misdeclared DG shipments – including all lithium battery shipments – originating from Hong Kong. This will be rolled out gradually across the network.

The move is in line with the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulation (DGR), which states that the shippers and freight forwarders must comply fully with the IATA DGR when offering a consignment of dangerous goods to an IATA member airline. The articles must be properly identified, classified, packed, marked, labelled, documented and be in the condition for transport in accordance with the regulation.

As the carriage of undeclared or misdeclared dangerous goods is a potential threat to aviation safety, it is the responsibility of cargo agents to identify whether any shipment contains undeclared dangerous goods. Agents need to check, make the proper declaration and ensure the goods are packed in accordance with DGR regulations. Failure to do so under the new scheme means they will face an indemnity charge for non-compliance.

Cathay Pacific Cargo had previously introduced the Cargo Agent Operation Programme in 2016 to the Hong Kong market and then later to other territories to assess cargo agents’ performance with DG shipments, but the continued growth in e-commerce has necessitated further scrutiny to maintain safety.

‘We had seen some improvements on the freight forwarder side since the  programme was introduced,’ adds Lau. ‘But the supply chain has become more complex, so we are rolling out the additional control scheme with an undeclared or misdeclared DG indemnity charge from January.

‘Many forwarders have been managing their upstream partners and shippers in ensuring contents and packing are compliant. They should not be concerned if they have done their part correctly and have ensured their partners have done so too. But we believe this additional control will motivate forwarders, as well as shippers, to review and enhance their processes, if required. This will collectively protect our customers’ shipments, as well as our Cathay Pacific Cargo people involved in the operation.’

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