#IATA’s Dangerous Goods Transport Survey Highlights Challenges

(Posted 28th September 2022)

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Labelmaster, and Hazardous Cargo Bulletin, announced the results of their seventh annual 2022 Global Dangerous Goods Confidence Outlook. The survey results underscored the need for greater process consistency, increased automation and more reliable data to facilitate the safe and secure transport of dangerous goods (DG). 

Global supply chain disruptions have put even more pressure on those professionals and companies responsible for shipping goods safely and compliantly. While there are many areas of improvement over the last year, the survey demonstrated widespread awareness of the need to improve DG processes, training, technology and infrastructure,” said Robert Finn, Vice President, Labelmaster.

The air transport industry handles over 1.25 million DG shipments per year. The growth of e-commerce and proliferation of lithium batteries in global supply chains are two indicators that the number of DG shipments will grow. To handle them safely, we must further improve compliance with global standards. Almost any item can be shipped safely, provided we have well-trained professionals following globally agreed standards and supported by the right technology and infrastructure,” said Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President Operations, Safety and Security.

Key Findings and Recommendations

There is a solid foundation for compliance
 Nearly a quarter of those (24%) surveyed said DG compliance is a competitive advantage Another 37% said their organizations go beyond what is required by regulation, while 39% only adhere to minimum requirements

There is awareness that critical improvements are needed.
 Only 25% believe their organization’s current infrastructure is equipped to meet future needs82% believe their organization’s DG investment cannot support future regulations or supply chain changes

Confidence in key aspects of DG handling hovered around 50%, pointing to areas for improvement.
 64% reported confidence in the ability to handle reverse logistics56% said they received fast/quality responses from regulatory authorities55% were confident in the reliability of master data55% believed that technology was being leveraged sufficiently to support safe shipments53% said that the DG rules were easy to apply52% have the requisite budget48% believed there was sufficient C-suite support 48% noted sufficient regulatory enforcement of DG rules 48% were confident in their organization’s DG compliance

Most respondents (67%) indicated that their organization was prepared to handle DGs at most or all of their locations. Top priorities were identified as:
 Automating processes (61%)Harmonizing processes across supply chain (59%)Accessing complete and accurate data (52%)Obtaining special permits, letters of interpretation, etc. (48%)Ensuring training is effective and up to date (45%)

Four key recommendations come from the survey:

Technology: Automate DG operations and establish reliable processes across the supply chain. 

Training: Utilize gamification or 3D training experiences to better train and recertify employees.

Packaging: Utilize new packaging solutions to further improve efficiency, safety and compliance. 

Regulations: Use digital regulatory materials to keep DG professionals up-to-date. 
The survey shows that it is critical for organizations to assess their DG operations and identify processes, infrastructure gaps and areas of opportunities. The good news is that making meaningful improvements does not have to be difficult or require significant investment,” said Finn. 

Careen added, “Companies do not have to reinvent the wheel. IATA has digital solutions to improve compliance. DG AutoCheck, for example, automates the complex and time-consuming manual task of checking that each shipper’s declaration is compliant and the package(s) are correctly, marked, labelled and packaged, which improves efficiency. This streamlines processes and enhances safety.” 

Learn more about the state of the global DG supply chain – infographic 

About the Survey

Sponsored by Labelmaster, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Hazardous Cargo Bulletin, 439 DG professionals from around the world were surveyed about how their organization’s DG management operations changed over the past year and which areas are most problematic. The survey was conducted between 12 May and 30 June 2022.

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