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IATA calls for stricter regulation on lithium batteries

Time:2016-08-16 20:47 Source:ATW Online Writer:admin Click:Times

Regulations surrounding the carriage of lithium batteries—which have been implicated in several fires on board airliners—must be more strictly enforced, IATA and battery manufacturers said Aug. 15.


Significant financial penalties and even prison sentences should be imposed on those flouting the regulations, they said in a letter to trade and transport ministers, as well as civil aviation regulators in the world’s major battery manufacturing and exporting nations.


IATA, the manufacturers and the International Air Cargo Association said the safety regulations relating to lithium batteries should be enforced at the point of origin, including the initial shipper and the battery manufacturer.


They also called for implementation of cooperative enforcement initiatives between legal jurisdictions to address situations where lithium batteries manufactured in one state are driven over a border to be flown from another state.


IATA DG and CEO Tony Tyler said, “Airlines, shippers and manufacturers have worked hard to establish rules that ensure lithium batteries can be carried safely. But the rules are only effective if they are enforced and backed-up by significant penalties. Government authorities must step up and take responsibility for regulating rogue producers and exporters. And flagrant abuses of dangerous goods shipping regulations, which place aircraft and passenger safety at risk, must be criminalized.”


His comments were echoed by the Rechargeable Battery Association (PRBA) executive director George Kerchner: “The actions of a minority threaten to undermine confidence in legitimate battery and product manufacturers. This a matter of deep concern for our members.” The PRBA represents most of the world’s largest manufacturers of lithium ion and lithium metal batteries, as well as manufacturers of products powered by them.


In June, Kerchner called for a crackdown by Chinese authorities on lithium battery manufacturers that repeatedly and deliberately mislabel air consignments of their products. He said many were initially shipped through Hong Kong, evading mainland China’s regulations on dangerous goods, and that the Hong Kong authorities had hitherto seemed unable to enforce such regulations.


IATA and the PRBA have repeatedly called upon governments to address the danger posed by the willful disregard of the international regulations by rogue manufacturers and shippers and to close existing legal loopholes that prevent prosecutions of serial offenders.


This lack of enforcement is leading to increasing pressure on airlines and regulators to unilaterally ban all lithium battery shipments by aircraft.


This would add to the cost of global supply chains and consumer goods, and have the unintended consequence of potentially encouraging those that already flout the law to increase mislabeling of batteries, further increasing safety risks.


The letter to ministers and regulators comes just weeks after EASA voiced concerns about the carriage of lithium batteries. ICAO has also banned the batteries being carried as cargo on passenger aircraft.





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