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International Forwarding Association Blog » Air freight in Europe » The requirements from IATA for air freight forwarding services
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The requirements from IATA for air freight forwarding services

When forwarding cargo by air, it is essential that all standards and guidelines by the International Air Transport Association for safety are duly met. The freight forwarders Europe provide their services in full compliance with these requirements and inform their customers about all necessary regulations and possible limitations in regard to the air transport service.


The regulations for forwarding of cargo via air transport

The safety guidelines and standards by IATA for air freight forwarding are for the following types of cargo:

  • Lithium batteries
  • Hazardous loads
  • Live animals

Cargo of these types needs to be appropriately labeled with labels including all the necessary information in regard to the items included in each shipment.

Apart from that, each shipment needs to be accompanied with the required documentation including the safety information for handling the shipment depending on the types of items packed. The documentation should also include instructions for re-packing of the shipment in case the packaging becomes damaged during the air transport.

The documents should also include a phone number for contact for more detailed safety and other information in case of need.


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Requirements for shipping of lithium batteries

Air transport of lithium batteries is considered risky due to the fact that they are charged with large quantities of energy. This is why the requirements for their international freight forwarding by air are for them to be packed in a way which prevents short circuiting.

IATA’s requirements for their transport differ according to the type of shipments being forwarded – whether the shipment contains batteries only, or equipment with batteries included in it, or shipments of equipment which has batteries inserted in it. Apart from that, the safety guidelines differ in accordance to the type of batteries being shipped: lithium-ion or lithium-metal batteries.

The main guidelines and stands for the air transport of lithium batteries are for the proper packing which prevents their contact with other batteries, metal items or other electrically conductive surfaces which can cause a short circuit.  Apart from the requirement for the batteries to be completely packed, their terminals and other conductive elements need to be isolated with the appropriate tape, stickers or other isolation materials. Filling materials are used by the freight forwarders association to separate the batteries in a package in compliance with the safety guidelines of IATA. An important part of these regulations and standards is the prohibition of the air transport of lithium metal batteries without equipment.


Guidelines for the air transport of hazardous cargo

Very strict regulations need to be followed when hazardous materials are being forwarded by air. These guidelines and rules are closely adhered to by the member companies of the European network for transportation.

These rules include the required documents which should accompany the hazardous shipments, as well as the proper packaging and the instructions for the personnel which accompanies and handles the hazardous shipments.

There is a safety manual which includes all regulations for the air transport of hazardous materials, which is the only one being recognized and implemented by the air carriers and by the freight forwarders.


Requirements for air transport of live animals

When live animals are transported by air, the safety requirements include those for proper handling of the shipment, the types of cages or other appropriate packaging which needs to be used, as well as the proper marking and labeling of the packages. There are detailed classifiers which include what type of cages and other packaging is required for each type of live animal being transported.