(Is it true that unless one has taken IATA training and has acquired an IATA certificate, one cannot dispatch dangerous goods shipments by air?)

Some organization is saying that you cannot handle or dispatch a dangerous goods shipment unless you had gone through an IATA training and have acquired and are in possession of a valid IATA certificate. Is this true? Kindly advise us your opinion as IATA, as a State, and as an airline.  (30 Sep 12)

The answer is: “Yes, it is true”.

You must attend an IATA training, pass the test, and acquire a valid certificate to handle shipments of dangerous goods. ICAO, the UN organization in charge who made the regulation, IATA, an airline organization which is promoting the regulation, member States of the world including Japan, and the world airlines are all trying their best to promote the regulation. The Shipper’s Dec aration for Dangerous Goods is stipulated by ICAO to be produced by the shipper.

Needless to say, the Dec aration must be made by a person who had undergone training and is eligible. United States and United Kingdom are particularly severe in the execution of the regulation, and impose heavy fines to offenders. Japan is not so earnest in policing. It May be that a major accident May bring back senses to the government but since the Japanese Aviation Code is only directed to airlines, the shippers remain outside of the fence.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure & Transportation is directly connected with ICAO, but the Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry who has jurisdiction over the shippers do not have a direct link with ICAO. There is a big gap as far as the transport of dangerous goods is concerned. Above said, even though shippers, freight companies, cargo agents, forwarders and airlines, all are taxed with the need of training, in Japan, the shippers are in an isolated position. In the United States and U.K., even the shippers who are at the very upstream still come under the Department of Transport.

This is where Japan differs. In Japan, control over the shippers is totally lacking. The State May be thinking that the downstream entities, the cargo agents, the forwarders, and the airlines will stop irregularities that May have been caused by the upstream shippers. In the United States, transportation matters are under the control of the Department of Transport across all types of businesses.The Japanese Aviation Code is only applicable to the airlines. Shippers are not even mentioned in the Aviation Code.

All these ICAO regulations are spelled out in the DGR 1.2.1 where it quotes all parties who must abide with the rules. DGR explains ICAO’s part. Since Japan is a member of United Nations, it has an obligation to abide with the ICAO regulations.

DGR states what the shippers must abide, and this includes 1.5 Training. DGR talks about legal penalties, and mentions rules using a “shall” or a “must” are mandatory requirements. Therefore, training, classification, identification, packing, documentation and handling are all “musts” and must be followed without fail.

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