IATA, TIACA and the Global Shippers Forum have taken the lead in calling for stricter enforcement of international regulations on the transport of lithium batteries.
There have been repeated calls on governments to address the danger posed by the wilful disregard of the international regulations by rogue manufacturers and shippers and to close existing legal loopholes that prevent prosecutions of serial offenders.
Lack of enforcement is increasing pressure on airlines and regulators to unilaterally ban all forms of lithium battery shipments from aircraft. This would add to the cost of global supply chains and consumer goods, and encourage those who flout the law to increase mislabelling of batteries, further increasing safety and security risks.
In a joint letter to ministers of trade, industry and transport, and directors of civil aviation in the world’s largest lithium battery manufacturing and export countries, IATA, PRBA, the US Rechargeable Battery Association, RECHARGE, the European Advanced Rechargeable and Lithium Battery Association, the GSF and the International Air Cargo Association have called for lithium battery safety regulations to be enforced at the point of origin including the initial shipper and the battery manufacturer.
“The actions of a minority threaten to undermine confidence in legitimate battery and product manufacturers. This a matter of deep concern for our members,” said George A Kerchner, executive director of PRBA which represents most of the world’s largest manufacturers of lithium ion and lithium metal batteries and manufacturers of products powered by these batteries.
The letter also called for implementation of cooperative enforcement initiatives between jurisdictions to address situations, where lithium batteries manufactured in one state are driven over a border to be flown from another state. The global associations also called for significant fines and custodial sentences to be imposed on those who circumvent the regulations.