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ESC – European Shippers’ Council

Safety Advisory Notice on Lithium Batteries

U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published a safety advisory notice on the air carriage of lithium ion cells and batteries, prohibiting the carriage of lithium ion cells and batteries as cargo on passenger aircraft.

At the beginning of April the PHMSA published the safety advisory notice containing the actions of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) which came into force on April 1. The ICAO had decided to temporarily restrict the carriage of lithium ion aircraft batteries on board of passenger aircraft as a reaction to incidents with these batteries on board of Boeing 787 planes in the United States and Japan.

ESC has some issues with the enforced Lithium-ban on passenger planes. The regulation put in place by ICAO is a measure which hurt all the companies that produce and ship lithium-batteries. It is widely known that the issues of Lithium-batteries in air cargo focus on the non-compliant batteries that do not meet the standard requirements for production and packaging of the batteries. Yet, the regulation that was put into place affects all shippers of lithium-batteries, including the companies that are totally compliant and have the right production and packaging methods in place. Because, the ban by ICAO is temporarily enforced till January 1st 2017, ESC will work with its members and all parties within the air cargo supply chain to come up with an alternative in which compliant and safe lithium-batteries can be transported by air and the non-compliant batteries are fully banned from any airplane (whether it is passenger or full freighter). A mark of excellence carried by the ESC and the industry’s other stakeholders in the supply chain (e.g. Carriers, Forwarders etc.) could help in shifting compliant and non-compliant batteries, with this in place tougher inspection and prosecution of non-compliant batteries in air cargo should be enforced. ESC will push for an adjustment of the ICAO regulations and will actively participate in the discussion.

This article was posted on April 30th, 2016 by ESC under News