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Rapiscan to develop Lithium battery test

The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has awarded security equipment specialist Rapiscan Systems a contract to determine the feasibility of automatically detecting potentially dangerous Lithium batteries in air cargo. The CAA contract, supported by UK Department for Transport funding, calls for Rapiscan to develop advanced detection algorithms to establish the extent to which Lithium batteries transported within air cargo can be identified. Rapiscan Systems’ vice

president, global marketing, Andrew Goldsmith (pictured right) told FBJ that scanning technology works by firing X-rays at the cargo. Photons that then bounce back from the material contained in Lithium batteries behave in specific known ways and the soſtware contains a database of these specific behaviours and can be used to automate the detection process. This is a relatively simple in

process itself, but Lithium batteries may well be encased in

other material, such as a laptop computer or a plastic casing which can in turn influence photon behaviour and the algorithms have to be sophisticated enough to cater for all likely scenarios. It is this that makes the testing process relatively long and complex, although Goldsmith said he was “100% certain” that a reliable algorithm could be devised. Over the nine-month contract,

Rapiscan will examine various cargo configurations and develop, test, and evaluate potential advanced image-processing soſtware tools. The results may be used by the CAA to propose new air-cargo handling policies, and may encourage further work on commercial soſtware tools to assist air cargo inspectors. X-rays and soſtware systems

have have been used to detect explosives in passenger baggage since the late 1980s and the technology is now routinely used to scan both cargo and passenger baggage at airports and cargo terminals around the world. Once a usable algorithm has

been devised, it could then be installed in the soſtware already installed in explosives scanners, Goldsmith added. There is in fact no reason why, given the time and resources, similar algorithms could not be created to detect other types of dangerous goods, he said. According to a recent Air

International Association


Transport report,

Lithium-metal batteries transported as cargo will be restricted to cargo aircraſt only from January 2015. Goldsmith told FBJ that getting the soſtware ready in time for this deadline was “certainly doable.”

US issues new Li battery rules

The US Department of Transportation has issued new standards for the shipment of Lithium cells and batteries. The new rules, developed by the Department’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), aim to ensure that the batteries can withstand normal transportation conditions and are packaged to reduce the possibility of damage that could lead to an unsafe situation. They will also be more consistent with international standards, including the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by air. Voluntary compliance is now being encouraged with mandatory compliance effective six months aſter publication.

DfT ‘sacks’ sniffer dogs

The Department of Transport has carried out a survey to gauge the effect that the loss of the explosive detection dogs service will have on the airfreight industry. It follows the Department for Transport (DfT)’s summary withdrawal of the service in June, on the grounds that the REST (Remote Explosive Scent Tracing) dogs

were not fully effective. This has meant that cargo that cannot be X-rayed – for example, because it is too dense – has ended up being sent by road to airports in Continental countries where the use of sniffer dogs is still allowed – much to the chagrin of the UK airfreight industry. In a note accompanying the survey – which closed on 3

September – the Department for Transport said it believed that explosives detection dogs can have a role in aviation security and was currently looking into what would need to be done to reinstate REST. But it warned: “This is a complex project and we cannot yet commit to when or whether REST certifications and operations will start again.”

DB Schenker files US airlines complaint

DB Schenker has filed a complaint in New York Federal Court claiming damages from air cargo carriers Air France, KLM, Martinair, Cargolux, Qantas, SAS and All Nippon Airways, saying that the airlines operated a cartel. The forwarder

alleges that illegally conspired to fix fuel

the defendants and security

surcharges for airfreight shipments from, to and within the US from 1999 until at least 2006. A number of worldwide competition authorities,

including the European Commission, have found that numerous air cargo carriers were involved in a global price-fixing conspiracy and have imposed substantial fines.

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Issue 6 2014 - Freight Business Journal

Green light for ANA- Luſthansa joint venture

All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Luſthansa Cargo have gained antitrust immunity for a Japan- Europe joint venture, claimed as the first of its kind in airfreight. Both companies will continue

to operate their own fleets but market the capacities on Japan- Europe and vice-versa jointly. This includes freighter and belly capacity and covers not only Germany but the whole of Europe. ANA has received approval

for the joint venture from the Japanese Ministry of Land Infrastructure and Transport and it has been positively assessed by external counsel for compliance with relevant EU antitrust regulations. The two carriers will now


start network planning, pricing, sales and handling on all routes between Japan and Europe and expect to sign a joint contract in the next few weeks. The joint service should be in operation from Japan to Europe in winter 2014/15 and from Europe to Japan in mid-2015. Luſthansa cargo says it

will offer customers a wider selection of routings and service

options with more direct flights, more destinations and more frequencies. Operations will move under one roof at major stations, such as the airports Narita and Nagoya in Japan and Düsseldorf and Frankfurt in Germany. The alliance also covers

passenger services; both carriers are part of the Star Alliance network.

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