Report highlights dangerous goods shipping challenges

Geneva — Organizations must reduce process complexity, create effective staff recruitment and retention programs, and enhance digitalization to improve the safe and compliant transport of dangerous goods (DG) / hazardous materials (hazmat), according to a new report.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) Labelmaster, and Hazardous Cargo Bulletin have announced the results of the 2023 Global Dangerous Goods Confidence Outlook.

“Ongoing supply chain disruptions along with the continued growth of e-commerce and markets that rely on DG – from consumer products to electric vehicles – has made shipping goods safely and compliantly increasingly difficult,” said Robert Finn, the vice-president of Labelmaster. “While organizations showed improvement in their DG operations over the last year, the survey underscored the need to reduce process complexity and enhance digitalization to address future supply chain and regulatory challenges.”

DG professionals are confident about the industry’s level of infrastructure and investment. Overall, 85 per cent believe that their infrastructure is on par or ahead of the industry. As well, 92 per cent increased or kept their DG investment the same year-over-year.

While 56 per cent believe their current infrastructure meets existing needs, only 28 per cent responded that it meets both current and future needs.

Process complexity, mis-declared DGs and attracting qualified staff remain challenging. A total of  72 per cent say they need more support to address future DG compliance.

Meanwhile, views of the labor market are mixed, with 40 per cent indicating that current challenges will persist, 32 per cent expecting the labor market to improve and 28 per cent believing that it will become more difficult to find qualified staff. Overall, 56 per cent said they expect the mis-declaration of DGs to stay the same or worsen.

Sustainability remains a focus across the industry, with 73 per cent of DG professionals reporting their organizations have sustainability initiatives in place or planned. However, 27 per cent do not have any sustainability initiatives planned, showing room for improvement.

“While DG professionals are generally optimistic about the future, the survey shows improvements to processes are needed to adapt to supply chain and regulatory changes,” said Finn. “The good news is there are plenty of tools available that will help organizations address current and future needs and keep regulated goods moving safely, compliantly, and efficiently.”