FORTY per cent of shippers say they are unaware of the dangerous goods regulations governing air freight, according to the International Air Transport Association's shipper survey, with the body describing this figure as "very alarming".
IATA head of cargo Glyn Hughes highlighted the survey results at the World Cargo Symposium (WCS) in Singapore, pointing out that millions of smaller shippers are opening up each year due to the rise of eCommerce and such businesses need to be made aware of the rules applied to dangerous goods, for example those governing the carriage of lithium batteries as air freight.
He revealed that IATA is collaborating with eCommerce platform providers to ensure the message on dangerous goods is spread to such shippers, reported London's Air Cargo News.
Mr Hughes said that it was very important to identify "rogue shippers", who misdeclare lithium battery shipments to make sure that don't gain entry to the supply chain.
In a later session, Atlas Air Worldwide executive vice president Michael Steen said that one way to help improve the situation would be to criminalise misdeclaration. He stressed that misdeclaring dangerous goods endangers people's lives.
IATA's shipper survey, conducted every two years, interviewed 400 participants regarding their market outlook for this year, with 52 per cent anticipating growth in their usage of air freight transportation this year compared with 2018.
Mr Hughes said that this demonstrated some "optimistic green shoots" about the air cargo market at a time when IATA has lowered its prediction for air freight growth to two per cent in 2019.
On a brighter note, the survey found 16 per cent of shippers were "extremely happy" with their air cargo services, although, some eight per cent said that they were "very unhappy" with the performance of the industry in delivering their goods.
However, many of those shippers referenced the poor performance at the end of 2017 when an unanticipated spike in air freight volumes saw massive congestion and consignment delays.
Mr Hughes said that this negative survey result reflected a focus on an historic issue rather than "systemic problems" in the air cargo supply chain.
Some 29 per cent of respondents think that the air cargo industry is dealing "adequately' with eCommerce shipments.
Overall, the shipper survey gave the air cargo industry a customer satisfaction mark of seven out of ten, the same as two years ago.