The news today that Amazon has been fined £65,000 for shipping dangerous goods highlights just how critical it is that companies remain aware of the relevant regulations associated with any shipments they organise or undertake, and that all cargo is compliant to those regulations.
The case against Amazon was made by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in relation to the Air Navigation (Dangerous Goods) Regulations 2002 and relates specifically to Amazon’s attempts to ship both lithium-ion batteries and flammable aerosols on flights in and outside of the UK between November 2013 and June 2015. These items are included in international and domestic restrictions due to their potential to become a flight safety risk.
It is important to remain aware of changes to all regulations relevant to your cargo, to ensure that shipments remain compliant at all times. A change relevant to this case happened as recently as February 2016, when the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) banned shipments of Lithium-ion batteries as cargo on passenger planes.
The barrister acting on behalf of Amazon, Stephen Spence, told the court that the issue was caused by “misclassification” of items due to “individual human error”. This only highlights how crucial it is that every single member of a company’s team is aware of the regulations and how to ensure all shipments remain compliant.
Compliance to regulations is absolutely critical in our industry, especially when noncompliance can have potentially catastrophic consequences, such as in the case of lithium-ion batteries which could overheat, causing burns, fire, and even explosions. Ensuring that products are classified, packaged, and labelled with the correct documentation is paramount. If in doubt, check, check and double check.
If you want to know more about the Amazon case, this article in the Financial Times provides a lot of detail. And if you want to know more about regulations specific to shipments of lithium-ion batteries, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have produced a range of resources covering everything you need to know.
Finally, if you need help assessing your own supply chain for compliance, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.