The Lufthansa Cargo embargo on three companies over an ‘incident’ involving dangerous goods has been lifted, the carrier has confirmed to The Loadstar. There has been quite some noise over the ban, in part because one of the companies involved was Flexport Asia, the forwarder everyone loves to hate. There have been various and potentially damaging remarks over the ‘incident’, despite the details not being made public.
I was surprised, how everyone kept jumping to conclusions, especially when LH (Lufthansa) had provided little to no information on the incident.
This story also provides hints to freight forwarders to be even more vigilant when handling DG cargo or Li-ion batteries, and shouldn’t rely solely on exporters, who may at times could place incorrect labels on the cargo, which had been the case in this incident. Therefore, forwarders must ensure the proper labels are placed on the cargo according to the MSDS1 before handing over to the carrier.
Li-ion batteries are very commonly used in everyday electronics, such as from our laptops, cell phones to children toys etc, and IATA has a clear instructions on its handling through air cargo, which must be ensured at all times. IATA Li-ion Battery Guide 1MB
This entire episode that spanned over a week, began when Lufthansa Cargo Hong Kong (LH HKG) issued a Circular.txt banning a vape manufacturer, and two other freight forwarders involved in the incident of mislabeling of the cargo that contained Li-ion batteries.
However according to what I could gather, this move was triggered by an incident that took place a month ago, where an Air China passenger flight caught fire IMG at the Beijing Airport, and caused to collapse its airframe., the incident was linked to Li-ion batteries in the main deck cargo compartment of the aircraft.
The LH circular instantly stirred up a lot of buzz over the linkedin, because one of the freight forwarders involved was Flexport, a San Francisco based technology startup and freight forwarder.
The embargo however was lifted in a week or so, and most likely Lufthansa Cargo Hong Kong (LH HKG) acted out of extreme caution, in the wake of recent Air China incident.
1. A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is a document that contains information on the potential health effects of exposure to chemicals, or other potentially dangerous substances, and on safe working procedures when handling chemical products. It is an essential starting point for the development of a complete health and safety program. It contains hazard evaluations on the use, storage, handling and emergency procedures related to that material. The MSDS contains much more information about the material than the label and it is prepared by the supplier. It is intended to tell what the hazards of the product are, how to use the product safely, what to expect if the recommendations are not followed, what to do if accidents occur, how to recognize symptoms of overexposure, and what to do if such incidents occur. Source