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Critical New Equipment for Transporting Dangerous Goods

Shipping dangerous goods by air is one of the biggest challenges that freight forwarders face. These products need to be handled with extreme caution to prevent damage to the lives of all parties involved. Therefore, dangerous goods carriers are obliged to follow the rules of dangerous goods transportation and strictly control the products throughout the transportation process.

To transport dangerous goods smoothly and safely, carriers must choose effective equipment and tools that help curb the dangers associated with shipping hazardous goods. We have gathered together some of the top equipment, tools, and technology currently available that’s helping to enhance the safety of airfreight.

Firetrace System

Lithium batteries are highly regulated when it comes to shipping them by airfreight, as they contain flammable substance like hydrogen which can cause explosions and fires when short-circuited. Also, fire protection systems on board aircraft cannot stop a fire caused from lithium batteries as it requires specific chemicals to extinguish.

In order to prevent explosion and fire from lithium batteries, Firetrace has developed a system to detect and protect fires in ULD containers. It can detect heat in the container when the temperature is high or is likely to cause a fire. The Firetrace system will alert the crews to the danger and allow them an opportunity to stop the fire in a timely manner to prevent the fire from spreading throughout the aircraft.

Fire-Proof ULDs

After a UPS cargo aircraft caught fire from a large volume of lithium batteries in 2010, UPS partnered with Macro Industries to develop ULD MACROLite, a fire-proof ULD.

ULD MACROLite is made of plastic fiber and polycarbonate. It can resist heat up to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit and contain a fire for more than 4 hours, which is long enough for the pilot to make an emergency landing. UPS is the first to operate more than 1,800 fire-proof ULDs and other fire protection equipment, especially for dangerous cargo.

Fire Containment Cover

Regulations are in place that attempt to limit the volume of lithium batteries, which limits the transportation of lithium batteries to a maximum of 35 kilograms. AmSafe Bridport has also developed a fire containment cover (FCC) to protect fires from spreading.

With more than 1,000 blankets tested and trials operated, FCC blankets have been proven that they can prevent the spread of fire for up to 6 hours. AmSafe Bridport is the first manufacturer to have TSO-C203 certification for fire protection products, including fire protection systems, pallet covers and fire-proof blankets.


In addition to lithium batteries that can be dangerous during airfreight transportation, shipping explosives is another high-risk item. Obviously, there are severe limitations in place on shipping explosives both in terms of type and volume.

To aid in these types of shipments, Dangerous Goods Management (DGM) has developed Explosafe, a container designed specifically for the shipping of explosives. It protects against explosions with the ability to handle temperatures up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and contains a special rubber to protect the explosive shrapnel from spreading.

Explosafe containers have been certified by the United Nations (UN) as quality equipment for protection from hazardous explosive cargo. Moreover, the containers have been proven to be safe for use in airports, stations, trains, government offices and public areas.

Hazard Labels

Apart from equipment and tools that are important for dangerous goods shipping, labelling that indicates the type of dangerous goods is also very important. It also contributes to a smooth and safe transportation of dangerous goods.

Labelmaster, a professional label manufacturer for hazardous goods, is well aware of the impact correct labelling can have for dangerous cargo. In addition, the company has rigorously studied the details and regulations of dangerous goods transportation. They are in compliance with GHS, Hazard Communication Standard and National Fire Protection Association.

They are also continually improving their label format to meet the latest regulations. For example, they now use an anti-static material to prevent static electricity from accumulating during transportation. They have also tested their labels in different environments to ensure that Labelmaster labels are effective and durable.


For dangerous cargo rejected by airlines, more than 60 percent of the time it comes as a result of documentation errors that do not meet international transportation standards. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has cooperated with The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to develop the EasyDGR application, a document checking system for dangerous goods transportation.

The application reliably verifies the data of dangerous goods transportation that safely and effectively reduces the chances of dangerous goods cargo from being rejected by an airline. Moreover, EasyDGR can also access the IATA Hazardous Material Regulations and IATA e-freight information.

In addition to a compliance with the rules of dangerous goods transportation and using sufficient equipment, tools and modern technology, another important factor that the carriers should take into consideration is how the run their operation. Service providers must have intimate knowledge and understanding of transportation to ensure that dangerous goods are transported safely and smoothly.