CNS 2019: Despite improved DG handling, manufacturing standards still lag

MIAMI – At the CNS 2019 Partnership Conference yesterday, Jonathan Paitechnical solutions engineer, Smiths Detection, advocated for more rigid manufacturing standards for lithium batteries during his presentation titled, “Deep learning algorithm and lithium battery detection.”  

Despite IATA’s efforts to alert carriers to DG shipments so they can be handled properly, risk remains from shipper and manufacturer negligence. “Manufacturing standards especially, can represent a significant problem for us. If standards are not enforced, lithium ion batteries are not necessarily a safe product to put into the [belly] hold of an airplane,” said Pai. 

To mitigate the threat to aircraft and cargo, Smiths Detection has developed a deep learning algorithm to detect lithium battery shipments as they move through scanning machinery.  Shipments containing lithium ion batteries can be detected in one to two seconds. The detection upgrade can also be attached to existing cargo scanning machine systems. 

The dangers of improperly declared lithium ion battery shipments are by no means new to stakeholders. Four years ago, IATA began calling for the criminalization of shippers that intentionally misclassified dangerous goods shipments.  

Ultimately however, there are limitations to machines, and it would behoove the air cargo industry to meet the issue head on. “Someone has to set the standard. Even if not everyone adopts the standard, everyone will still understand what the standard is.” 

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Chelsea Toczauer

Chelsea Toczauer is the Associate Editor of the company’s daily news and monthly magazine Air Cargo World. She holds two BAs in International Relations and Asian Languages and Cultures from the University of Southern California, as well as a double accredited US-Chinese MA in International Studies from the Johns Hopkins University-Nanjing University joint degree program. Chelsea speaks Mandarin and Russian.